Stinking Refrain



I have resisted with valor

 for many a year

    The powerful impulse to KVETCH;

to display in poetics,

 with a sob & a tear,

     The image of a miserable WRETCH.

I have balked at declaiming

 my sadness or fear,

 in extensive syllabics,

     Or even in SKETCH.

I’ve said it over & over,

 till the sentiment shrinks,

      And have made it terribly clear,

that to my mind,

 as well as my ear,


I have made it a point

 to regard with suspicion

    The stanza just oozing with sorrow;

or the lyrical poem,

 which by din of attrition,

    Curses with vehemence every tomorrow.

I’ve written it in earnest, I’ve written it in jest,

I’ve written it in purples & pinks,

    But for flavor, I swear, this says it best:



About j. j. marino

As a creaky & cranky a-social agoraphobic anchorite, living in seclusion in the Great North Woods & keeping centered by the Power of the Written Word, a blog would seem to be a fat pitch in my strike zone.

Posted on April 14, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Confessional poetry stinks when it takes the lives of its makers,
    writing groups of the manic; maybe her posthumous work will save her.

    Or will the old lover control the estate and dole it out piecemeal
    in slices of poems about birthday cakes?

  2. Anne Sexton, Maxine Kumin, Sylvia Plath and others all belonged to the same writing group. Maxine saved herself, moved to her farm in New Hampshire, and crops and raises horses and makes beautiful words. Didactic implications? Writing is a solitary occupation. I cut my teeth on poetry, love the ancients, the sagas/epics (like the Kalevala) and all of the rest… Apologize for the quickwrite structure above, but you get my point. The 50’s+beginnings of group therapy = danger for some writers? Self-indulgence? I really don’t know. I only speculate.

  3. They were women. Poets. In the Fifties. At least those I’m considering here as the ‘classic’ examples.

  4. Familiar with several and of course, Levertov immersed. Thanks for the link. There are others to explore. And there’s Adrien Rich. I can’t believe that she once came to a course I was taking, and spent the afternoon with us. Small group. Like 15? Diving Into the Wreck had just been published. Early 70’s. I considered those poets mentioned above to be confessional poets. Who else? Just askin’

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