From Completely Subjective

Completely Subjective: Kay Ryan’s Playacting

Ideas and actions wear their significance like a brightly colored shirt. With too much repetition, the color fades. Ideas become cliché. Actions become mechanical, rehearsed: playacting.  Kay Ryan’s poem by that name begins with a short excerpt of prose from W.G. Sebald’s Campo Santo, which explains that participants in tribal rituals of initiation or sacrifice…

Completely Subjective: Ada Limón’s “The End of Poetry”

I love poetry, but sometimes it frustrates me in the way it inevitably falls short, language unable to measure up to reality. Good poetry is a good approximation of the real world, but it’s still an approximation. Ada Limón’s “The End of Poetry” rejects that approximation — or, at least, it approximates a rejection (how…

Completely Subjective: James Galvin’s On the Sadness of Wedding Dresses”

I came across the poem “On the Sadness of Wedding Dresses” by James Galvin first published in The Iowa Review. Upon first reading it, I was moved by the poem and appreciated the nostalgic tone Galvin instills in each word. The personification of the wedding dresses “weeping in their closets” was beautiful; the comparison of the dresses to women who were separated from and left by their husbands or just living through unhappy marriages was intriguing. The dresses were described as “luminescent with hopeless longing,/like hollow angels,” unwanted and under-appreciated since the days of their glory. This sad description prepares…

Completely Subjective: Kim Addonizio’s “Verities”

The world is full of countless theories about the processes of attaining the ultimate goal of happiness. Upon first reading Kim Addonizio’s “Verities,” found in Poetry Magazine, I was immediately captivated by the dark tone. Phrases like ”every dog has its choke chain,” “better dead than fed,” and “sticks and stones will break you,” flooded me with emotion. These violent words “break,” “dead,” and “choke” convey the feeling of pain and the hopeless notion that all people will suffer at some point or another. Though unconventional, I feel like people can find comfort in the fact that Addonizo deems bad…

Completely Subjective: Vijay Seshadri’s “Memoir”

The world is full of countless opinions and theories on the significance of human life. Studies are constantly done regarding the effects humans have on the environment as well as on each other. Does one thing someone says really affect the way another sees the world? I can only wonder. Vijay Seshadri was born in India and immigrated to the US when he was just 5 years old. He published “Memoir” in 2005 and it was published in the Best American Poetry of 2006 volume. “Memoir” resonated with me through the interesting perspective that it offers on life and its…

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Completely Subjective: Maggie Smith’s “Good Bones” 

Maggie Smith’s “Good Bones,” published in July of 2016, depicts the conflict between the ugly world and the delicate innocence of a child. A mother of two herself, Smith grew up and still lives near the city of Columbus, Ohio. It was there that she explored the various corners of life, trying to discover the…

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Completely Subjective: Maggie Smith’s “Good Bones” 

The year is 2020. So far, the world has dealt with the glowing fires in Australia, the hyped-up threat of World War III, and the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter. Oh, and the coronavirus pandemic. It seems as if tragedies are happening all around us, and we are just waiting for the next…

Completely Subjective: Jennifer Keith’s “Eating Walnuts”

“This is going to sound super pretentious but” is probably the absolute worst way to start any literary analysis. That being said, this is going to sound super pretentious but the act of eating walnuts in Jennifer Keith’s “Eating Walnuts” is a metaphor for life. Here me out. More specifically, it’s a metaphor for the…