Monday, July 11, 2005

The Hallmark Effect

Following Kasey, Jonathan, Nick, and others discussing poetry as distinctive thinking, just some quick observations:

I think that the point of a Hallmark Greeting Card poet is to retain only one level of paraphraseable content, as this would probably be part of their job description. If someone is suffering a loss, about to get married, having a baby, etc., these become the motive of the poem. There is considerable premeditation, at least in the output. It is my understanding that writers are hired to work strictly within greeting card genres, i.e. humor, congratulations, loss, etc.

But, the transactions with the readers may not be paraphraseable. That may be unique, for example, “I miss you.” This could mean “I love you,” it could mean missing a friend that has moved away, a daughter off to college; and within that missing, a distinct activity could be being missed.

The poem as an experience is what I’m after…inciting a chemical reaction in the reader; and like different concoctions, and different people, there are going to be different reactions. Even so much as the frustration of inaccessibility.

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