Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Long Poems We Like: Terrance Hayes

So maybe it's because The American Poetry Review is a giant magazine sized newspaper publication, but it has some awesome long poems in its archives from past print editions! Seems like a pretty cool venue for long poems.

This poem by Terrance Hayes really illustrates the point I made at MisFit Blog about narrative in long poems.

"Arbor for Butch" uses section breaks and different episodes, seperated by time, place, and sometimes point of view, to draw a larger picture of an individual, a family, and a culture. It succeeds at accomplishing what a long poem at its best can, telescoping out from the experiences of an individual to capture the spirit of something larger, a time, a place, and the people who inhabit it. Talk about justifying 3 pages! You couldn't make these claims in a shorter poem.