Monday, March 14, 2016

From a short review by Stephen Dobyns of Patricia Goedicke's poetry collection The Tongues We Speak. (Emphasis added.)

Often she uses words not exclusively for their meaning but as intensifiers. For example, she sometimes likes to establish a rhythm with a number of double stresses. In the first eight lines of "In the Aquarium" one finds "front door," "back garden," "guests stream," "straight line," "then stop," "dark fish," "night sky," "moon like," "just short," "calm pool" and "blind friend." One has the sense of certain words being used primarily for stress. Does it really matter if the fish in the poem is a light or dark one? The reader comes partly to distrust her language, feeling that word choices may be made for reasons other than sense. This, coupled with the lack of proportion, tends to weaken the credibility of an entire poem.

My disappointment in the lyrics to "Alexander Hamilton," and in nearly all other lyrics I hear, arises from a similar loss of trust. There are songs I love, but most of them require a lot of forgiving.