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Herbert White

Frank Bidart

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Dreadful Writing
Added by: blackcroe
While one may object to the poem's subject matter, i.e, a pedophilic serial killer's dramatic monologue about his various murders, I find the poet's slack and flat diction choices more terrible than this subject. For example, the murderer describes the corpse of his victim as she lies on a bed of "ordinary, shitty leaves". While a bitchy queen, such as myself, might describe a pile of leaves as ordinary and shitty, I find it hard to swallow coming from this particular murderer's mouth. Also, the poet's gross overuse of the italicized word for emphasis shows the penury of his linguistic stock. Read Robert Browning's dramatic monologues, such as "Soliloquy in a Spanish Cloister" or "Porphyria's Lover," or T. S. Eliot 's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," or Robert Lowell's "Skunk Hour" if you want to see how a gifted poet finds the right words for the interior workings of the mind of the poems' speaker (or persona).
Added by: blackcroe
In the last line of my response, it should read "poem's" rather than "poems'"--blame it on my sloppy revisions.

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