Upon reading Hairston’s poem in the reader, I began to wonder how density plays into poetry. I know that I rushed through this poem, particularly because of the lack of spaces or line breaks, but sometimes when the lines sound more dense than they look, I tend to slow down. This is probably because of the simplistic language. The poem was also very aesthetically pleasing, as it sort of lays in a neat box.  This is probably also why the violent language caught me so off guard. I’m not quite sure why I sped across this poem, and I was wondering if anyone had any examples of poetry that seems compacted to the eye but, upon reading, seems to speed across the page.

I also thought the violent nature of this poem, particularly with the slashes, worked very well.

I was wondering if anyone had seen poems like this before, as I know that I really haven’t.

(I apologize for the strange title of this post- I wasn’t quite sure if the title was ‘YOUAREMYDAUGHTER’ or if it simply did not have one.)

2 Replies to “Hairston”

  1. The fast moving language and density reminded me of Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. I mentioned this book in class while talking during Evan’s workshop, but it applies to Hairston’s poem, too. The narrator is totally inside his own head because he can no longer talk, he wakes up in a hospital without any limbs and practically no face. The narration is his thoughts on processing what has happened to him at war. There is no punctuation at certain points because the narrator’s mind is running, and that’s exactly what it sounds like to the reader. This poem’s context is also violent, but the war seems to be happening at home, as opposed to Vietnam. The lack of punctuation AND spaces makes the pace pick up even more, and the density comes off as more intense for me. Many demands in a small space are pretty terrifying. Plus, the slashes reminded me of hits, like a cue for a sound effect or something. Very cool experimental poem.

  2. Hairston’s poem gave me chills. It’s really hard to explain because it looks very weird on the page but I think the line breaks even with the density creates this chaotic space where sometimes you don’t know who is saying what. It’s pretty neat!

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