Poetic Subjectivity

“It’s all about people. It’s all about the subjectivity of what people love.”

~Joe Pantoliano~

A week ago, I finished a five-week poetry class at UW-Fox Valley. This class was definitely more subjective than it was technical. Rather than learn about different styles of poetry, pentameter or best use of the English language, we engaged in free-write exercises, read works of published poets, listened to short lectures, recited our homework (poetry) out loud, and listened to feedback from the rest of the students. I’ve been sharing the homework here, unabridged and prior to comments from the students and teacher.

Natasha and I had a conversation about suggested changes to the poetry. She didn’t feel I needed to change a thing as poetry, much like art itself, is subjective. It’s what people love. Natasha is a good friend, who approved of everything I wrote and said I didn’t need to change a thing.


I have to inhale some of the edits and constructive criticism as a way to grow and improve my writing, both as a poet and a blogger with personal and fictional stories. If I never listened to the critics or teachers or those offering kind suggestions, I would not grow in this craft. Right?

Following is the final piece of poetry I wrote during the last five weeks. It’s about two people. Feel free to be subjective with your thoughts and comments.


It begins face-to-face,

with an impish, mad look.

They grab hands,

bounce a polka,

warble a beer-barrel song.

Twenty seconds later,

the whirling ends

and they return

to chopping dinner in the kitchen.

It commences side-by-side,

making dents in the couch.

They smile slyly,

worship Netflix,

hum a Captain Kirk song.

Ten seconds later,

the mute is undone

and they gaze

at the fifty-five inch guy in the red shirt.

It launches seat-to-seat,

rolling on a set of rubber.

They begin an excursion,

these small-town girls,

who wail a believer’s song.

Four minutes, eleven seconds later,

the anthem ends

and they relish

in feeling the love of their people.

It originates dawn-to-dusk,

with exuberant liberation.

They do not care,

dance idiotic,

croon frivolous words.

Sixteen hours later,

the behavior reclines

and they sleep,

silliness regenerating.

This post has been brought to you by the subjectivity of poetry and two crazy roommates. It has also been brought to you by Linda G. Hill’s “One-Liner Wednesday.” All you need to play along every week is an awesome one-liner and follow a few rules. Birds on a wire are not required, but make sure you link back today’s post to HERE so the rest of us #1linerweds peeps can read it.

19 responses to Poetic Subjectivity

  1. Dan Antion says:

    The most important reason that I like to read poetry is because it invokes a feeling in me. This poem makes me happy. It makes me smile. It takes me to moments in my life and brings back those memories.

    Just as it’s often difficult for a reader to understand what motivated the poet, I’m not sure it’s possible for the poet to know how much certain lines, sections, words, mean to the reader. You can’t imagine where the opening lines of this poem took me, but it was a happy place, and I thank you.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You’re welcome, Dan. That is part of the subjectivity…the poet/writer and reader can come up with two totally different meanings. It happened in class more than once. I’m glad when my writing invokes feelings, creates a story or invokes a vision of what I’m describing. Your comment is so encouraging and I thank you for that. Have an awesome Wednesday, Dan!

  2. Joanne Sisco says:

    I admit that I don’t really ‘get’ poetry most of the time. It’s story telling in a language I never seemed to learn.
    What I’ve gleaned from this piece is that feeling derived from those carefree moments with a good friend. They are as intangible as they are fleeting, yet powerful.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I don’t always “get” poetry myself and didn’t often engage in it in the past. Poems can be very cryptic, depending on the words that are used or how they fit together. I get easily bored when I read something that makes me go “huh?” I’ve been trying very hard to not be cryptic when writing so as not to chase friends like you away from my blog.

      • Joanne Sisco says:

        … and I for one really appreciate it. I always feel rather proud of myself when I ‘get’ a poem … or at least think I do 🙂

  3. Frank Hubeny says:

    The line about bouncing a polka is pretty good and it is now stuck in my mind. People do seem to bounce when they dance.

  4. Shelley says:

    To me, well-written poetry draws the reader into the scene and produces a desire of the reader to be there with the author enjoying or feeling the moments being described. Bingo – you did just that! Well done, Mary!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thank you so much, Shelley. One of the lessons from class is to always create a scene or event that the reader sees and feels. I’m glad this did that for you.

  5. I am reminded right away of the quote by Nietzsche, “Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

    This is a very nice look at those moments of impulse and action that seem to come fewer and further between as life goes on. Your poem is a nice reminder that we can reset our lives at any time and indulge in our inner passions.

  6. marianallen says:

    So wonderful! So deeply joyous! You asked for feedback, though, so I take the liberty of pointing out this line: “in feeling the love of their people.” That line clunked for me. Not the meaning, but …. It just didn’t have the poetic lightness of the rest of the poem, to me. Don’t be mad — you asked. Other than that one line, I adored this. It made me think of my late friend, Jane, and I thank you for that gift.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Not mad at all, Marian. I appreciate your honesty. That line is an inside joke with my girlfriend, but I’m going to see if there’s a better way to word it. Thanks!

  7. simonfalk28 says:

    I agree with you, Mary. Yes, there needs to be expression and a sense of flow, a tapping into our creativity. But, I spelling, rhythm, style and shape all have their place as the words occupy the white space. I know we all need to do some proofing and editing. I have really enjoyed your posts on poetry.

  8. JoAnna says:

    Here’s my favorite part: They do not care, dance idiotic. The sleep part is nice too after all that dancing.

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