Sunday, August 01, 2021

The cruelty of enjambment in Jeffrey Harrison's "Shooting a Slingshot with My Father"

One of the poems about his father's death in Jeffrey Harrison's "Between Lakes" is called "The Cruelty of Metaphor"; another, "Shooting a Slingshot with My Father", identifies a difference between father and son with what might be called "the cruelty of enjambment": "[...] unlike me, he didn't think / in metaphors, but called things what they were." The whole clause contrasts two modes of understanding: the literal, prosaic father and the figurative, poetic son. But the line break isolates "he didn't think" and potentially implies that only the poet's "thinking in metaphors" – and enjambments – is really thinking, while "calling things what they are" isn't actually a mode of thinking at all. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 1 August 2021)

Four Way Books » Between Lakes by Jeffrey Harrison

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