Poetry’s Obligation

Poetry has an obligation to oppose clichés. Clichés are the viral carriers of lies. Poetry can do this by rejecting cliché or by analyzing or exploding cliché in its own use of language. The poet -- who certainly does not need to be a maker of verses -- uses one kind of language against another, verbal jujitsu. Making verses(broadly defined) is a discipline that can be employed against clich&eacutes; Poetry shares this obligation with other disciplines, but is particularly suited to the work. Poetry ought to make it harder to lie.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

2 thoughts on “Poetry’s Obligation”

  1. Couldn’t resist.


    If form is the unconscious
    of movement
    and wisdom the unconscious
    of will

    then the last few
    terrible miles must be love
    he’s sketching it out
    for me like I was Lewis or Clark

    asking directions
    to the wedding of heaven
    and hell just because

    I’m lost doesn’t
    mean I don’t know
    what I’m singing.

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