Todd “the Boss” Boss–yeah, I liked him

This blog was written by Jaclyn Herr, a sophomore English major at MU.

I’m new to this whole blogging thing, and don’t really know what I’m doing, but here goes.

The first thing that really struck me about Poetry Magazine’s April edition was the amount of prose or prose-like poetry that was in it. I know prose poetry has gained popularity lately, and as someone whose nose rarely leaves the nineteenth century, it was kind of weird for me. Some of it I liked more than others. I don’t really know where that observation was going, but there it is. If you like prose poetry, dive in, if not, there’s a fair amount of non-prosy stuff too.

The author that caught my eye the most in the magazine was Todd Boss. As someone who isn’t that into poetry, I found his to be the most fun to read. “Amidwives: Two Portraits” is also noticeably well crafted, and I like being able to see the writer’s skill on display. His heavy use of alliteration was fun because it made the poems sound fun and light, which clashed strongly against the description of weird women he is portraying. In the first portrait, I also enjoyed the Big Bad Wolf reference with the lines “–the better to shake/ her memory with–.” He’s almost perverse in the way he makes such a weird poem so fun and sing songy and I love it. This really comes out in the second portrait of a mother who is jealous of her son’s new wife – Freud alert! The imagery of the “thrust” at the end of the poem is both highly violent and highly sexual. In this second section the alliteration continues and the last words of the sentences – instead of line endings – rhyme is aa bb fashion. Basically this poem is just full of twisted goodness, written in a very fun way to enhance the cringe-factor. He’s definitely the “Boss.” Yup.

Another poem in the compilation I especially enjoyed was “1979” by Roddy Lumsden. He has a subtle amount of humor running through the poem, and the images he uses fit their purposes in strange ways. My favorite was “the day was good as… meat on the rib.” I love ribs, and a non-meaty rib would indeed make for a pretty shitty day. The third couplet also toyed with me a bit in the way he splits “into” into “in to” (how redundant was that) to convey how annoying it is when people butt into our lives. I was uncomfortable and annoyed; so touché to Roddy.

Basically the poetry that stood out for me was the poems that were being kind of playful. I like that. I can’t say there were any poems I particularly disliked, except maybe a few of Di Pieros;
the way he writes
the last three lines
makes me cringe.


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