Poemblot (as in inkblot) is a regular feature where a general reader (i.e. someone who does not have an educational or professional background in writing or literature) is shown a poem and asked to offer an immediate impression. The reader reads the poem no more than twice and is not given any instruction on how to read it or information about the author. One of the purposes of Poemblot is to explore the different perceptions and assumptions readers bring to a text. The readers' full names will not be shared to protect them from rampaging, ego-bruised poets on social media. Instead we'll offer some basic background information and a representational photo provided by each reader as a framework for who they are.
Favorite Book: Anna Karenina
Favorite Movie: Black Swan
Favorite TV Show: The Bachelor/ Bachelorette
Favorite Song: In the Wind by Lord Huron
BY LYNN BEHRENDT
White columns. Orange leaves. Rhododendrons bobbing in the wind. Porch furniture left out too long. Own nothing. Remember everything. Bear witness. Prepare litmus. False blue of a neighbor’s pool.
Hiss of new furnace. Burnish the pain inside into something other than this swooping bird in you. Think it into landing.
Six foot ladder leaned against the peeling wall of a once white house in upstate New York.
Wednesday morning. I have somewhere to be, earning what could have been considered a living in 1963. Trees have it good: rooted in place and long-lived. I drive through every day not thinking. They have nowhere to be. Movement so slow we don’t see. Leaves flicker in the periphery, in the fluttered shade of a few old lindens.
whalebone, autoclave, headache
endocrine system canon
slandered and carved into
dislodged, governed, or decoded
sometimes I think trees
sink into memory
far easier then relatives
events, or smoke
graffiti scrawled across a track—
wait for me I am almost done
I will be up there in just a moment
R.E.D.’s Immediate Impressions
1. What strikes you most about this poem? Does reading it bring up any thoughts, emotions or sensations?
It makes me feel sadness and a vague sense of fear. I thought about someone who had regrets or felt as if life had passed them by. It made me feel like someone might feel who didn’t reach their fullest potential and feels hopeless that they ever will.
2. What do you like most about this poem?
I liked the description of the environment, how it was used to create a feeling. I also liked the last line.
3. What do you like least about this poem?
I got a little confused by the part where the rhythm changed. The part that begins with “whalebone, autoclave, headache”.
4. Before reading any poem, do you come to it with certain expectations? If so, does this particular poem meet those expectations? Does your expectations affect your opinion of this poem?
I guess I have the expectation that a poem is going to touch upon something universal or common to all people in some way. I think this poem does that.
5. Does this poem make you want to read more poems?
Yes, I would read more.