I hadn’t truly thought about the extent of how abstract poems can be before my workshop. To me, what happened in my poem was clear, but I was also the one experiencing it. Metaphorically, I tried taking my story and shattering it, only using a handful of shards to put it back together. In hindsight I don’t really know if that’s an effective way to share unique experiences, because not everyone can grasp onto some of the concepts being expressed. That’s not the fault of the reader, but the writer. So to what extent can you alter the deliverance of a story before you change the story told altogether?
Word choice certainly has something to do with it. Upon discussing topics that hit “closer to home” for me, I found that I was tempted to hide behind suggestive and cryptic wording so as to make it less explicit and more suggestive. But, I found this is not particularly helpful when attempting to make feelings public. For example, if a poem like mine is meant to express an emotional disconnect or type of anxiety, there’s a point to which the poem becomes too fragmented or impossible to understand. My solution to this in my further writings and drafts of my poem is to expose more about the story and my explicit feelings. In the case of a poem that starts off abstract because it uses fewer words (like the Williams poem, XXII), it makes more sense to carry that out consistently throughout the poem. Maybe this would avoid confusion that would come with a poem that exposes some details, but not all. Lastly, I think going back and reflecting on my poem has caused me to think of what makes a poem understandable, and why and how one would choose to allude to some details, and not others. It’s definitely something to consider, and I will continue to dwell on the correct answer because I don’t think I’ve found it yet. 🙂