In response to ‘Open-Plan’
For the vast majority of people, certain types of poetry are the ones they’ll stick to reading, in terms of subject, style, mood, even the poets themselves. I don’t discount myself from this. It’s a personal preference. Sometimes, it’s good to be thrown a curve ball, asked to look at work you wouldn’t come across otherwise, even accidentally finding it by yourself. Such has twice been the case in the past couple of weeks. Firstly, just after his premature death, the wonderful American poet & gay rights activist, Francisco X. Alarcón.
Sometimes, it’s good to be thrown a curve ball, asked to look at work you wouldn’t come across otherwise
Secondly, a poem from a Saboteur Award-nominated pamphlet. ‘Open-Plan’ isn’t the sort of poem I’d normally read, but I’m glad I did. It hasn’t the metrical dash & swagger I usually look for in a poem, nor is the setting one I’d ordinarily engage in. But what it does have is fascination, surprise, wry humour. On re-reading, it engages thought & provokes curiosity. Like many people, I’m drawn to the secrets behind ordinary lives, & as a poet, it’s a strain of the everyday I often find myself wondering & writing about. What might be behind the prim petticoats & politically correct manners of the workaday, the 9-5? Apparently, it might be a panther in the spare room or a desire to introduce a splash of horticultural colour to the drab & drear of the urban concrete byways. I like that mindset & I admire the way in which this poem encourages us to look beyond the office etiquette, gives us a quick glimpse of what might lie behind the twitching curtains of the everyday.
~ Stuart A. Paterson
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