Tightrope Books

Poetry as Payback

By Tightrope Books | August 4th, 2009 | Print This Post | Email This Post | Leave a Comment

Pondering the sublime sweetness of the well-crafted selection of poems by Tara-Michelle Ziniuk, entitled Somewhere to Run From, where a “poised, articulate young girl” takes on the opponents of her predestined right to fulfillment, I am reminded of an article I had read about a poetic duel between two poets who found it exceptionally difficult to share the same domain.

Both shared possession of a girl’s love—one in the guise of a female best friend, and the other, a newly minted boyfriend. The two determined to oust each other by crafting clever sonnets profiling their revulsion towards each other which they delivered to their beloved, who presently locked herself in her bedroom for the remainder of the day to weep while the poets decided to move their venue onto Craigslist—the girlfriend advertising for a new best friend, the boyfriend, a new lover.

So what was the point of this allegory? Well, you might not believe it, but I recently found myself in a similar predicament with my best friend and her audacious guttersnipe … ahem, lover.

I, too, used a poem to justify my grounds for their separation, which I filed with my girlfriend, who showed the poem to her boyfriend, prompting him to serve me with a notice that I should be shipped off to a mental asylum, with great expedition … or so to speak. In truth, the spoken poetry served up a locomotive of vulgar profanities as yet unknown to me, literally teeming with obscenity that left me aghast, and at a loss for words … and CBC Radio 3 …

Apparently, the absurdity of the situation overcame even the boyfriend, who shipped himself off to his mom’s to move back in …

It is yet unclear to me who was crowned the winner of the duel … after friends asked me what I had learned from the experience, I told them that I was left with a greater appreciation for my English Lit degree, which helped me to see that gentle women like me will always be on a higher plane of existence, culturally speaking, than men who debase the concept of “gentleman.”

I even wrote this down and told everyone I knew about my newfound philosophy, including women I shared a seat with on the bus, women at my gym, women seated at neighbouring tables in restaurants I frequented, cashier checkout women at grocery stores, Winners, and Shoppers Drug Mart, and the list goes on … anyone who I felt might be helped by my logic.

Maybe I went too far … maybe it was wrong for me to use poetry as a vehicle to malign an individual and, subsequently, lower my social standing within my community … One could say that I was simply caught up in a torrent of poetic pique and, hence, not mindfully responsible for my words …

Which leaves me with a question: should poetry—spoken or written—be used as a peaceful method of getting mean people off your back? And if you say yes, it should, then would you say I had achieved this objective?

—Annie, publicity intern

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