Original poem reprinted online here: "Zombie Preparedness Plan" by Mary Jo Firth Gillett
Originally read: January 8, 2013
More information about the Poet: Mary Jo Firth Gillett
So there's always been the debate about poetry vs. prose. The only thing I could add to that discussion is that I'd rather read this poem as a flash fiction piece than a poem. I'm writing that it's a bad thing; rather, that there's a lot of information I would want to know about the speaker and the daughter and the poem doesn't quite encapsulate that for me. And past me agrees in the most harshest of ways, "Nothing is really added with these line breaks or description, very much like an article or a story.
Then I thought to myself (after rereading this) I wondered why. Over the past two months I noted certain poetry literary techniques like line breaks creating distortion in tone or emotion, rhyme scheme tying in themes, how images and descriptions overtake any sense of plot or direction, and alliteration adding or detracting from the sound of a poem.
Do I hold these techniques too high in regard? Probably. I'm more likely to be old-fashioned that way. Also I don't see any of the techniques I mentioned utilized in the poem. From one read through everything is pretty clear.
Stanza 1 (exposition): Daughter talking about Zombie Preparedness Plan.
Stanza 2 (rising action): Speaker reminiscing on how he/she survived in real life.
Stanza 3 (climax): Speaker and daughters thoughts intertwine and there's a lucid description of fear.
Stanza 4 (falling action): Tying fear to the everyday for the speaker and hopefully not the daughter.
Stanza 5 (denouement): Obligatory reference to a poet it's Robert Frost this time (Basho, Frost, Bishop, Dickenson, Whitman -- any one of these will do), then the speaker going along with what the daughter believes in to keep her "innocence."
After diagramming the poem out, I then think to myself what the techniques I mentioned above would add?
The techniques might ruin the piece since it works so well being clear like this and it's a bit cute and cheeky. Again, nothing wrong with how the poem is, it's just that there could be so much more if the piece was a flash fiction piece.