Like everyone, I had a few poems shoved down my throat in high school. Personally, I didn’t take to it.
It was some years ago that I discovered I could like poetry. Because a lot of people haven’t made that discovery yet, poetry volumes don’t sell at their regular price of 25$~36$, and there’s a whole section at my bookstore where poetry books come dirt cheap when it’s time to liquidate the stocks. This is where I get most of the poetry I read... I’m too new at it to be comfortable buying them full price because most of the time, when I buy poetry, I’ve no idea what I’m getting into.
My latest dirt cheap pick-up was Mystery, So Long by Stephen Dobyns, and, hum, I’m relieved it was dirt cheap.
Mystery, So Long does not feel like poetry. The words fit, but it’s more like a narrative cut up into three-lined paragraphs, with clunky metaphors and simplistic morals. There’s an avalanche of words and detailed descriptions, but no meat to digest. When I’m done with a poem, there’s nothing to think about.
It would still be okay if not for the unforgivable sin: the poems (short short stories?) are boring. And the fascination with the physical functions – peeing, crapping, sexing – really got on my nerves. It’s like Stephen Dobyns never got over thinking with his bowels. I’m only through half the book but after 36 poems, I’m very ready to move on.