I recently had a conversation with a friend about didactic poetry. Her poem had been negatively critiqued for being didactic. The Poetry Foundation defines didactic poetry as,
“Poetry that instructs, either in terms of morals or by providing knowledge of philosophy, religion, arts, science, or skills. Although some poets believe that all poetry is inherently instructional, didactic poetry separately refers to poems that contain a clear moral or message or purpose to convey to its readers.”
It’s not my favorite form. I like my poetry a little juicier, but sometimes its important to state an opinion straightforwardly and clearly, boiled down to essence. Sometimes people need a straight shot of information to go on, or go forth.
I also find that writing didactically can clarify something about which I’m fuzzy or misinformed. That is exactly what happened to me when I was writing to this prompt for which I felt great resistance – Pop Art. I now have a better idea of what Andy and the gang were showing us; the point to, as it previously appeared to me, utterly banal art. So thank you Victoria Ceretto-Slotto for your prompt at the d’Verse Poets Pub. I love being stripped of my erroneously conceived opinion!
With A Slight Bow to Andy Warhol
I never liked those soup cans
retrospective soon as they appeared,
boring beyond belief, as if the Fifties
on which we so happily turned our backs
insisted on re-emergence.
Probably, it’s the storyteller in me,
failing to find purchase in a soup can,
who resents how pop art drains soul
from its subjects, crafts icons out of isolation.
Isolation is a man-made illusion
designed to punish, torture, maim.
But this is exactly the dreary point Pop Art
makes so well, the warning it flashes.
Notice we eagerly deny… no one willing
to admit commercialism kills. Entices us,
one-by -one, to separate. Presses us flat,
churning out thousands of identical copies
until we saturate the market with ourselves,
everything else disappears, and we stand alone
on a flat white canvas wiped clean of all connection,
dead as a single beautifully painted doornail
with no one left to notice.