Complications

13 February 2020, Category: poetry



This essay from Jack Underwood blew me away, because he nails down thoughts I’ve had before but have struggled to put into words. He describes poetry as a necessary counterpoint to the simplification of stories we are being fed today:

They know that nostalgia for simpler configurations and categories is a symptom of fear and frustration. They know that as everything gets worse through deliberate inactivity the more frustrated and scared we become. “The answer is simple,” they tell us: “We must simplify!” Then: “You do not cohere to simplicity. Why are you making this so difficult? Everyone else is so tired of this difficulty. Hey everyone, aren’t you tired of this? Vote for me if you’re tired!”

So many times I listen to or read poetry and it complicates my view of the world in some new way. Each new wrinkle of language provides a new perspective. This is undoubtedly a good thing. Because once you reject the simplicity of simple stories everything becomes more interesting.

Writing poems, I find myself more and more unsure, more lost to the confusion as simplicity is stripped away. I struggle to know what they are about. I know what impulse I started with but the end result is often a mystery to me. Maybe this is a good thing as well. Who can say?

Go read the whole essay, it is magnificent.