Analysis Of The Poem ' Fear Of Narrative And The Skittery Poem Of Our Moment ' By Tony Hoagland

Analysis Of The Poem ' Fear Of Narrative And The Skittery Poem Of Our Moment ' By Tony Hoagland

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Tony Hoagland’s poetry is well known for his take on life and his poems have been chosen for the Brittingham Prize of Poetry. In “Fear of Narrative and the Skittery Poem of our Moment” by Tony Hoagland, Hoagland talks about how narrative is out and skittery is in. Meaning that structured and systematic poems are not the norm of our day and age but that fractured and chaotic poems are. Hoagland says, “Our age lacks the structure of a story. Or perhaps it would be closer to say that narrative implies progress and completion.” And with this he is stating that we aren’t capable of writing a structured poem so that’s why we result to writing skittery poems. But structure is what makes up a poem, if a poem is dissembled then how will we know its content and meaning?
Poetry to me has to have structure and meaning because without it we are left with confusion and wondering all these questions of what the author is trying to portray. Poetry shouldn’t just be a bunch of different ideas put together; it should be one idea flowed out on the page. When you read a poem you want to feel what the author feels and you want to see how their poetry relates to their lives and what experiences they have. Memories are the best way to describe our lives and when it comes to using them in poetry they require structure. If you write a poem using three different memories and smash them together then the reader will be confused and not know how to comprehend the poem they read.
I disagree with Hoagland when he says that structure is out and skittery is in. Throughout reading The Best of the Best American Poetry, most of the poems I read in the book were narrative poems. All had some meaning or focal point to their poems, some being harder to comprehend...


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... together and or it may be dull and boring. You may say if a poem is one idea that it’s boring, well it all depends on how well the author spread out the idea and how interesting they make it. An example of a skittery poem that is very exotic and slammed together is a poem by Michael Robbins called “Lust For Lies.” Robbins writes, “The elephants ate each other, then they dreamed of eating elephants till their captors came to feed them. Then they died. My meth lab tends to explode.” In this poem Robbins continues to go on and does not correlate with what was said before. How can we tell what Robbins is saying if all he does is move from one topic to another. This is why we need narrative in poetry and why it is important to have it when reading poems. It helps us understand the poem and figure out where the author is coming from and what they are trying to say to us.

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