Parents: they just don’t understand, right? Especially when we talk to them about the seemingly nebulous world of poetry. The Adroit Journal staff is brimming with teenage angst (or maybe that’s just me), so the only logical thing to do is to channel these years of puberty and acne into a blog post! In "We Ask Our Parents About Poetry," we— wait for it— ask our parents about poetry. In this installment, Poetry Reader Noah Dversdall and his parents sit around the imaginary Adroit table for a chat.
Noah Dversdall (Poetry Reader): Okay, so first question: How would you define poetry?
Julie Dversdall (Mother): How would I define poetry…?
Duncan Dversdall (Father): Creative use of words in various parameters of verse and rhyme or lack thereof.
ND: How would that differ from say fiction? Which is also creative use of words in a non-rhyming scheme.
DD: It’s in a non-rhyming scheme, but it tends to stay in a non-rhyming scheme and would rarely render itself into the rhyme-scheme.
ND: Well you know, so does modern poetry.
DD: Well that’s modern poetry, so perhaps modern poetry is converging with basic fiction.
JD: I’m thinking. How would I define poetry, right?
DD: Says the so-called English major.
JD: Okay, that’s just rude.
JD: I don’t know, can we come back to that one, for me?
ND: Sure. Okay, how frequently do you guys read poetry?
JD: Not very often.
DD: Oh, every other month or so. I tend to go to Where the Sidewalk Ends, just for amusement.
ND: Uh, can you name any famous modern poets (or are there any famous modern poets, I don’t really know)?
JD: Modern meaning…
ND: In the last… 30-40 years.
DD: Shel Sylverstein. Theodore Geisel.
JD: No, but in my defense, I’m terrible with names. I mean I am, you could ask me what book I read last and I couldn’t tell you who wrote it. I probably couldn’t even tell you the name of who wrote some of my favorite books.
DD: You could probably tell them the whole plot, the whole story, but…
JD: But I couldn’t tell you who wrote it, so no I could not name any modern poets.
ND: Okay, um...
JD: Noah Dversdall.
ND: Not famous.
JD: Oh... Not yet.
ND: What do you think poetry’s role is as a creative genre?
JD: I think its role is the same as about any other artistic genre. To make people think, to express emotions, to create new ideas.
DD: To reflect on ourselves or our world.
ND: Do you guys have like a pen, or something to write on?
DD: Yes, and no.
ND: I can give you paper, here.
DD: [Julie]’s faster on the draw.
ND: Write a poem. It can be about anything. Doesn’t matter.
DD: Okay, well I shall eschew Vogon poetry for the day.
JD: "My son"
He challenges me
In so many ways
I love him
ND: Okay, while we wait for dad to finish, let’s return to the first question.
JD: What is poetry? Oh no, how do you define poetry? Hmm, well, I would say it’s a little bit like art, in that you define it in any way that you want.
DD: It’s in the ear of the beholder. Okay, and we’ll go with that.
"A Poem About Poems"
I am confronted with a poem challenge.
Can I be poetic on the fly tonight
Rhymes escape me but number not yet
Ponder deeply slowly, but here I sat
Flighting, fleeting ideas come and go.
ND: Last question. This time, I’m going to give you three poems. One by me, one by an established poet, and one published in The Adroit Journal, and you need to figure out which one’s which.
DD: Clear as mud?
JD: Clear as mud. Well, what is it again?
ND: One by me, one by an established poet, and one from Adroit, or one that’s been published in Adroit.
JD: Okay, I know what I think.
DD: Okay, I’m going to go with my first impression. So, Noah [points to "Inclusivity Blueprint" by Kit Schluter], Adroit [points to "Albatrossed" by Rachel Stone], and published [points to "Diagram of a Sunken Ship" by Noah].
JD: And I’m gonna say Noah ["Albatrossed"], Adroit ["Diagram of a Sunken Ship"], and published ["Inclusivity Blueprint"].
ND: Are those your final answer?
JD: Those are our final answers.
ND: You’re both wrong.
DD: So Sunken Ship was Noah?
ND: "Sunken Ship" was Noah, "Albatrossed" was Rachel Stone published in The Adroit Journal, and "Inclusivity Blueprint" was by Kit Schluter.
DD: Huh. Alright, there you go.
JD: Wait, wait. If he would actually share his poetry with us, we might have been able to do a better job of guessing.
ND: I don’t know, I mean…
JD: But since we don’t know his writing style at all, we couldn’t tell.
Noah Dversdall is a high school senior from Dayton, Ohio. His poetry has been honored by The Poetry Society of the United Kingdom and has been featured in Crack the Spine. He has attended workshops on poetry at the University of Iowa and Kenyon College. In his off-time, Noah pretends to know Chinese well enough to hold a conversation, but in reality knows enough to say "Sorry" over and over again.