ARTISTIC STATEMENT What makes a poem work for me? What do I look for in a poem?
Wrexie Bardaglio I tend to search out poems that are accessible and fulsome; I don't want to be teased too much, and I don't want to be taxed too much. I want to be soothed, startled, provoked, intrigued, and enlightened, but I look for the poet who somehow knew just what I was looking for and delivered it. A lot of word-play will make me yawn, and too clever by half is just that â€“ too clever by half. I won't understand poems that are too scientific, and please, if abstract is what you love, I am afraid I am not your reader. I like poetry that is rooted in the natural world and conveys to me a view of life that I've not seen; evoking mood, action or memory by describing or capturing natural occurrences is a vehicle from the universal to the intensely personal, and when I am able to relate on a universal level I become empathic and appreciative. When the specificity and intimacy of another's experience or observation is rooted in the ubiquitous, I am allowed in without feeling as if I am intruding; too confessional and I start to squirm. I look for shape in a poem â€“ not rigid and formed, but the sort of shape that has speed and motion, body, if you will, as it introduces and then expands. I look for natural rhythm and consistent tone; those allow the essence of the poem to be revealed and I don't have to struggle with trying to figure out what the external devices are as the internals are made manifest. At the same time that tone is important to me, the swift shift in point of view that brings the poem home is something I relish; skillfully done, I am left with an aha! moment, instinctively looking up at sky or out to plains or ocean, stopping for a moment all perceptions to let the homeostasis inherent in the piece settle. And too, of course, there are poems where there is no homeostasis; still, left with question or tension I seek the subtle integration 7