Sweeney’s “5 O’Clock Poem” at 2 O’Clock

I didn’t have the book for this week, luckily there’s a website that has most of the poems from the book. Upon browsing this selection of poems I decided the 5 O’Clock Poem by Jennifer K. Sweeney is one of the poems which is most attractive to me. I don’t want to say favorite, because lately I’ve been questioning much about what it means to like or favorite something, and the reasons behind why I like some things vs. others. I use the word attractive because after reading multiple poems once, this poem is quite literally the one that I was attracted to without any analysis or reflection. The truth is I don’t know why I like this specific poem. Is it because it’s easier for me to comprehend than other poems? Because this specific poet appeals to my style of understanding and writing than others? Or is it because she used specific strategies to get me to like her poetry?  There are some vague ideas I have about why I like it. The language is simple, there is an abstract idea about going against “the current”, eventually giving up and giving into “the current”, which I relate to and which I have been struggling with as of late. And then there’s the language and the imagery of walking down a street, gray and bent; getting on a train; a salmon in a shallow stream.  But there’s much more to this appeal which I’m not aware of. I’m sure this appeal has to do with composition, sound, organization, the break in lines and the choosing of words– the poem is beautiful because the poet made it so. I’m thinking now that maybe all these thoughts are good thoughts to enter this workshop with, considering that maybe by the end of it I’ll be able to know more about certain poems appeal to me and in certain respects,  know more about my likes and dislikes and where they come from.

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