On the way home yesterday, I remembered my other reservation about those Andy Brown poems, or rather the way they’re presented.
It’s this – why tell the reader the ‘rules’ under which they were written? If, as I said yesterday, the poems had been published with the same title, Edges / Riddles, but no individual titles, and no ‘rules’, surely the reader could still work out what was going on? And isn’t that thing of trying to discern patterns part of what makes poetry interesting, part of what makes it poetry, even? Without wanting to get too pretentious, surely that reflects life itself – you don’t actually know all the ‘rules’ its operating to.
You don’t see sonnets published with a little preamble about how they work, so why should poems like this be any different? It smacks of a lack of confidence in the material (not justified), or a ‘look at how clever this is’ attitude (also not justified, from what I’ve read and heard of Andy). Strange.