ARTISTIC STATEMENT What makes a poem work for me? What do I look for in a poem?
Barbara Moore I am basically a minimalist – preferring short and direct to lengthy drawnout or what I choose to call ―over the river and through the woods‖ communication. A common misconception about writing is the idea that a long piece necessarily involves more writing time than a short one. This is simply not the case. I have spent hours on a four-liner and twenty minutes on a four-stanza poem. I learned to ―brief it up‖ from my father, whose short attention span left something to be desired – at least through the eyes of a child. But my father was, in the long run, my greatest teacher in all things. I wish I could tell him; I somehow believe he knows. • I am an emotional person who responds to poetry in the same fashion I respond to all else – emotionally. If the title of a poem intrigues me, and if the poem, on the whole, is nearly-line-perfect, with great cadence and structure, beautiful imagery, fine wordplay and a rich vocabulary, I recognize and applaud all that. But if I am unable to feel a human presence at the other end of the words, chances are the poem will not work for me. The poem can embrace me, sucker-punch me, make me laugh, make me cry or make me ponder. But it must do something to remind me I am alive and that the poet who wrote the words is, or once was, a living breathing embodiment of the life force.