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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Essay Questions for Bad Poetry

It's been quite a while since I've dipped my toes into the tar pits of verse. The last time, I believe, I was unkind to Harold Pinter.

We return, nonetheless, with this minimalist feast by the pop star Jewel. According to the fan page from which it was copied and pasted, the poem is either from linear notes to an album, or her book of poetry "A Night Without Armor." As it makes no difference, I will simply share the poem and then we can discuss the merits therein. Pens at the ready, scholars!


I wrote those nice
poems only because
the honest ones
would frighten you

1. When this poet says "I," does she mean, "an MTV generation pop star without even a hint of shame or irony" or does she mean Fiona Apple wearing a fright mask?
2. Jewel adroitly separates the word "nice" and "poems" here. She also separates the words "because" and "the." Explain how this chicanery adds special resonance to those terrifically dull words.
3. When Jewel says "honest," does she mean honest with herself about her skill as a poet?
4. The final word of this poem is "you." Clearly, as a reader, we are being implicated, even accused, of being so weak and sheltered that we would be frightened by true revelations about the singer's life and feelings. Have you seen those photos from Abu Ghraib? Has Jewel?
5. The title of the poem is P.S. What makes that especially precious?


Beat me to death with a CD copy of Pieces of You. Ten extra points for sparing me ever hearing her voice again.

1 comment:

Adam said...

cool! I like Jewel too!