SEEING THINGS: A Book of Poems by Robert Froman

SEEING THINGS: A Book of Poems

Email this review


A seeing poem happens when words take a shape that helps them to turn on a light in someone's mind."" So go the words, arranged in the shape of a light bulb, of Froman's first-page example, but neither this nor subsequent entries gives the eye-opening jolt we ask of concrete poetry. Instead we have the corny-cute (Graveyard: ""A nice place to visit but you wouldn't live there"" is spelled out on eleven tombstones), the pseudoprofound (""Cal en dar, you work hard to cut some thing in to little pieces. Have you ever tried to find out just what you are cut ting up?"" -- one syllable per ""day"" on calendar-like squares), or ""pictures made of separate repeated words (nine gimmies, six grabs and nine gits make a dollar sign, and more cleverly, six waves and three foams, above countless sands interspersed by two clam shells and one each starfish, pebble and hard grey rock, are ""On the Beach""). Froman says the poems ""began as a sort of free-wheeling haiku"" but just to quote the two that most closely approach this form is to expose the poverty of his imagery: in ""Quiet Secret"" a wobbly circle of words putting out branches reads ""A pond with weeds and grasses growing all around its edge -- full of dark water and lives and death and mysteries,"" and in ""Trees without Leaves"" the same kind of crackly branched lines sprout from the rustic letters of ""WINTER WOODS BARE TWIGGY EASY TO SEE THROUGH."" Well that's true.

Pub Date: March 22nd, 1974
Publisher: T. Y. Crowell