Tag Archives: poetry

A Controversial Poem

One of the poems contained in Enough Rope is titled “Résumé” and it is a lot more controversial than I would have guessed. I first read this poem in 2014 and it struck me as something…horrifying but powerful. Here it goes:

“Résumé”

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

To give context, Parker was often depressed and attempted suicide. Her poetry is full of angst, cynicism, and a longing for death. I feel like a poem like this reflects her worldview. There is no hope; this is life. Besides, isn’t there theory that one of the stages of tragedy is humor? In her mocking way, she’s wrestling with the tragedy of her own life. This isn’t designed to be serious, yet it is serious. That is why I find it haunting. 

However, one reviewer on Goodreads calls it, “callous and nursery-rhymish, and too shallow for the profound subject.” He goes on to call its conclusion, “a shopping list of smug quips.”

I’ve been chewing over his words but I find I can’t agree. It is powerful and depressing precisely because it is so trite. It is the title that takes this silly list and makes it powerful. It is “Résumé” because she knows these things only too well. 

What are your thoughts? Is this poem insensitive or powerful?  Haunting or humorless? 


2016 Reading Challenge: My 5 Star Reviews, Part 3

The 5-star, best of the best, reads from 2016! 

The Iliad by Homer

It is always difficult to rate a classic, but this is a super-duper classic. THE classic. A lot annoyed me in this story and I was often bored or grossed out, but the humanity captured is truly amazing. Many of the struggles, desires, emotions, and even insults thrown back and forth are recognizable and relevant today. This is a messed up story, but it is a also a story of coming to terms with grief and life and honor. It is incredible. My favorite “character” was Diomedes. I can’t believe I had never heard of him before! He was awesome! There is a reason this story has remained such a favorite for so long.

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas 

I had some pretty high expectations for Bonhoeffer and, remarkably, it lived up to them. Bonhoeffer is great, not only because it is the story of the pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but because it incorporates WW2 history, theology, and the story of Germany in the early twentieth century all at the same time. I especially enjoyed the quotes from Bonhoeffer. I am going to have to read more by him. This book may be thick but it is worth it. Highly recommended for lovers of history and anyone who wants to learn more about a fascinating, relatively unknown and unsung hero of WW2.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens 

Despite being ridiculously long and occasionally mindbogglingly boring, this book was wonderful and hard to put down. There were moments I loved it and moments I hated it. However, in the end, loving or hating, I really enjoyed David Copperfield and it might surpass Our Mutual Friend as my favorite Dickens novel. You can never tell what will happen next. There were a lot of characters but it was surprisingly easy to keep them straight. I like how everything was tied up and how everything comes around. The description on the audio book says, “tragedy and comedy in equal measure.” That is this book in a nutshell. It will make you laugh and it will make you cry. And in the end, it is totally worth the 34 hours, or 900 some pages, or whatever else it takes to get through it. Go Dickens!

Poems by C.S. Lewis 

Did you know Lewis was a poet? He was a really good one, too. In general, I don’t read poetry but this volume gave me a better sense of why people like it. Poetry can be bite size brilliance. These were utterly profound but applicable and memorable. My favorites were “Pan’s Purge”, “Reason”, and “The Country of the Blind.” Some of Lewis’s poems are silly. Some are profound. Quite a few confound me with allusions to things I know nothing about. He writes about angels and nature, love and Dwarfs. Well worth finding. 

The Metamorphosis by Frank Kafka 

I like this book because I could enjoy it just as it was, as a story, and yet also enjoy it as a classic literary work revealing human nature. I like Gregor and the love he has for his family, a love eventually worn down by self-absorption and then flipped again in his last moments. I actually liked his family as well with all their passivity, self-absorption, and laziness. Basically, they are horrible humans, but they ring true. The way they behave towards Gregor felt completely natural and realistic. Kafka makes a brilliant point about human dependency and how we let things control our whole lives. Fascinating stuff! 

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens 

Another Dickens novel! This timeless Christmas tale was even better than I expected. The book is simple and yet timeless. I don’t know what else to add because you probably already know about Scrooge and his nocturnal visitors, this story is part of our common culture. I thought I knew it. However, it has more depth than I realized. If you haven’t read it for yourself, I recommend doing so. 

Common Sense by Thomas Paine 

The historical significance of Common Sense alone argues for a 5 star rating. Highly readable, this pamphlet references natural law, legal theory, historical precedent, and Old Testament narrative. It made for an enjoyable read and provides insight into what fired up our Founding Fathers. I was pleasantly surprised by this one! 


An Ode Against Dandelions

Disclaimer: poetry was basically my worst subject in high school. I got a B. However, today I feel almost inspired. This one goes out to Spring. 

An Ode Against Dandelions
by me

Oh golden dandelion of summer day
I am at a lost to convey
How much I hate you

You cause my nose to run, my eyes to water
As the summer grows hotter
Everything dies

Yet you continue to grow!
If you could only know
How much I hate you

Oh golden dandelion of summer day
You fill me with dismay
You dump pollen in the air

That pollen causes me to sneeze
Reminding me with every passing breeze
How much I hate you

My eyes itch and begin to swell
My throat also starts to rebel
My head throbs 

Oh golden dandelion of summer day
You block my airway
How much I hate you

If I could I would pick
Every last flower with a chopstick
So I wouldn’t get dandelion juice on my hand

I don’t think it would stain much
But I avoid your touch
How much I hate you

Oh golden dandelion of summer day
If I sprayed you with hairspray
Would you die? 

I will breed rabbits to feast
Till you are entirely deceased
How much I hate you

It would be a labor of love
For all the suffers of
Your springtime tyranny

Oh golden dandelion of summer day
May I never get you as a boquet
How much I hate you