The Beauty in Simplicity

This week’s poems share the similarity of using simple language to convey vivid images. Although the poems were not difficult to understand for the most part, I could not help but to wonder if I was missing a crucial point while reading them. My favorite among this week’s readings is Elizabeth Bishop’s “In the Waiting Room.” Maybe it’s the autobiographical aspect of the poem or the prose-like fashion it’s written in, but I felt an instant connection with the poem and that’s what made it a beautiful read for me.

Unlike “The Fish,” this poem has a purpose that’s less complicated to grasp. Maybe the level of detail provided was like a moving image taken from a video rather than a still image from a photograph like in “The Fish,” but reading “In the Waiting Room” almost feel like a peek into someone’s journal entry and tapping into their thoughts. But why is this poem written in prose? No doubt the form contributed to the easiness of the poem, but that makes it dangerously easy, like surrounding it with caution tape. That is also why I think this week’s poems may have a deeper meaning that I may have missed.

Additionally, out of curiosity, I wonder how a six-year-old little girl could be so attentive to her surroundings, let alone pick up a copy of National Geographic and recognize two famous explorers at the time. I am by no means discrediting the speaker, but it just caught me by surprise. At the same time, I felt that the speaker was trying to prove her maturity by inserting “I could read” in line 15 to have adults take her seriously, like what every child has the tendency to do. But her façade came crumbling down when she was given a taste of reality through the editorial images. All in all, the attention to detail Bishop provides in her poems made them a memorable and enjoyable read.

One comment

  • Lovely post, Heather! One of Bishop’s key achievements is her ability to render vivid imagery in simple language, and I’m glad your response is so keyed to that aspect of her writing. Also, the problem of perspective in “In the Waiting Room” is an interesting one, and we’ll take it up in class.

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