Original poem reprinted online here: "Q" by Michael McFee
Originally read: January 24, 2013
More information about the Poet: Michael McFee
Before I start, I ran into a pretty thorough daily critique/analysis poetry blog called The Poetry Daily Critique. The analysis of poems are far better than mine for looking at the poem through theme, technique, and mode.
What do I have over this blog? Uh, I try to do this daily -- meaning I make a lot of mistakes. Anyway, the first blog post on The Poetry Daily Critique was for this poem. The blogger, in the post, defines probably his/her aesthetic/lens he/she views the poems. It's pretty good and thorough.
But from here on out I'll be focusing on what I think Yeah, probably not as thorough. So this poem is quiet comical as it points out the different variations of how to look at the letter "Q." From the beginning to end, I feel this poem has a sense of whimsy, but doesn't cross the line into pretentious.
So pretentious vs. whimsy discussion. I'll write down what I wrote in my notes:
"From this area I looked for:
a) how crazy and creative 'Q' can be described.
- tongue from mouth
- final flourish of quill
b) the limit where I thougt the cleverness was too much. I didn't feel that way at all with this poem."
And current me agrees. I get this feeling because the speaker is joking and having fun with the subject, and is projecting that feeling through the description.
I kind of figured out my definition of pretentious in poetry. It's when the speaking is joking and having fun at the expense of the subject or reader. For example, superiority through language is a big line for current poets. There's a point where I feel the complexity of language is used as a stratifying device to divide the "know" and "not know" to instill a sense of superiority; however, the poem comes off as Napoleonic and trite which diffuses sense and purpose in a poem.
Yeah, I know how to use language sometimes (not very effectively). I wish the list was longer, but not crazier if that makes sense. The whole stream-of-consciousness appeal is here, but I respect that he speaker keeps the subject to body and language.