View Full Version : Balloons, Onions & Watches

October 22nd, 2014, 01:46 AM
Several years ago I was thinking about the different kinds of poems I had encountered in Web forums, anthologies, face-to-face workshops and library books. It's a bit silly to suggest there are only three kinds of poems. And at some point every analogy breaks down. But I thought the following might be of some value to those who frequent this Poetry Discussion forum. As many of you have seen, I've created poems in all three categories. Yikes! Please forgive me for posting balloons and onions... :)

A poem can be like a balloon, an onion or a watch.

Balloons are full of emptiness, have a thin, featureless face and pop if you scratch the surface. In that sense, a "balloon" poem would be simple and accessible but trite and easily forgotten.

Onions have many layers, each the same, and make you cry if you bite into them. In that sense, an "onion" poem would be quantitatively complex and overly sentimental.

Watches have dozens of interlocking pieces that work together to create something greater than a mere sum of its parts. In that sense, a "watch" poem would be qualitatively intricate, harmonious and synergistically whole.

October 22nd, 2014, 03:32 AM
I'd argue that "watch" poems should be a sort of combination of the previous archetypes--on the surface they are simple and practical, easy to relate to and useful, yet as you dig in deeper you would see the all of the small intricacies that make the whole thing work and perhaps garner a larger appreciation for the piece. I do like the initial categories you listed, though, as they seem to work for most poems in general.

October 22nd, 2014, 05:29 PM
Good comment. I agree. A "watch" poem as you describe it could touch pretty much any reader, regardless of his or her willingness or ability to invest themselves in what and how it means. Thanks for the insight.

March 24th, 2015, 04:06 AM
I'm going to counter and argue that there can be apple poems, as well. These are the poems that are sweet and biting, with subtle layering. They can stand alone, but so too, can be part of a greater whole. Like pie. Slice by slice, you add to the filling until it all comes together with a final baking. I like apples, never could stand the texture of onions and balloons, while pretty, have no depth. I'm a pie poet.