interloper's picture

I caught myself
Wanting, what a stupid thing to do, wanting
Something almost perfect but not
Exactly right or even
Possible to begin with


interloper's picture

moved to proper place in the thread


jrlewis's picture

I'd like to see something

I'd like to see something here more meaningful than an exclaimation point!

jrlewis's picture

This poem acts not unlike the

This poem acts not unlike the month of March; it begins like the lion and ends like the lamb.  However, it leaves the reader seeking resolution.  The narrator's yearning is neither satisfied nor replaced with another object of desire.  So the reader isn't satisfied either. 

I would like to see a little more specificity with respect to the object of desire.  Rather than telling the reader that it is "not/ Exactly right or even/ Possible to begin with" show the reader. 

interloper's picture


Thank you.

I've been thinking about your points. I've tried to see it more objectively, from the reader's perspective without the knowledge of the details that caused the emotions I wanted to express. I suppose you are right, that it is too vague.

I guess when I was writing it  I wanted to express the emotions I was feeling without getting too much into the actual particulars of the situation. I think I assumed the vagueness of the description was enough to evoke the intended emotions, and the details could be supplied from the reader's own experience and imagination. Maybe this would make it possible for each individual to really feel the emotions, if it came from something from their own unique experience. Or so I thought.

But now I see that I was being too vague. If the reader was thinking of "something" as being a person/relationship (which I was), it evokes a completely different feeling than if they are thinking of an ice cream cone or a pair of jeans. I was too subjective in my thinking. 

I may rewrite it, or maybe I will add to it. We'll see.

jrlewis's picture

Clarity is generally

Clarity is generally considered preferable to vagueness, at least in writing courses.  Sometimes vagueness does make it easier for the reader to take on the identity of the narrator.  Both romance and graphic novels make use of this device to draw the reader into the plot.  However, vagueness can also alienate the reader.  Without strong sensory detail, the reader is inhabiting a bleak world.  Or the reader may not be able to understand enough of the poem's world to enter it fully.

I suspect that the debates about the value of vagueness can never be settled.  Whether or not vagueness works in a particulr piece of writing depends of the form and the subject.  Vagueness works well in villanelles, not sonnets.  So, how might you make the form of your poem better serve the vaguess? 

interloper's picture


As to your first point, however, I think maybe leaving the reader unstaisfied is exactly right, because that is how I felt. So maybe that actually works. But i will think about that too.

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