View Full Version : Rate-a-Poem: A Man Said to the Universe

William Haskins
12-28-2005, 05:21 AM
By Stephen Crane (http://www.wsu.edu/%7Ecampbelld/crane/index.html)
(1871 - 1900)

A Man Said to the Universe

A man said to the universe:
"Sir I exist!"
"However," replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."

12-28-2005, 05:35 AM
It is interesting, but it doesn't feel poetic to me...

Just my opinion.

12-28-2005, 05:38 AM
I've always loved this one. If I can feel the satisfying sting of truth (sometimes it's a caress, but not this time) in this kind of brevity, I'm impressed and happy.

12-28-2005, 05:47 AM
Damn it!

Why do I love its message but cannot accept it as a poem?

What is wrong with me?

12-28-2005, 05:53 AM
Nothing is wrong with you! I always feel like a heathen when I have issues with anything labelled as poetry, so I'm relieved when others show that it happens to them too.

William Haskins
12-28-2005, 05:56 AM
we're really starting to make some progress around here, i think...

12-28-2005, 05:58 AM
Thanks Perks.

William: honestly, I do frequent this section of the board more often now...

William Haskins
12-28-2005, 06:05 AM
always happy to have you around.

12-28-2005, 07:05 AM
This one feels more like a philosophy exercise to me than a poem—which doesn't mean it isn't a poem, of course.

William Haskins
12-28-2005, 07:27 AM
This one feels more like a philosophy exercise to me than a poem—which doesn't mean it isn't a poem, of course.

exactly. the two are not mutually exclusive.

i chose this one because it shares many similarities, at first glance, with the williams' poem about the cat. no rhyme, the illusion of prose, not metaphorically-loaded, etc.

and yet, in terms of function and scope, it couldn't be more different. together, they represent two extreme ends of the spectrum. a simple image to an arguably profound pronouncement about man's place in the universe.

man, i love poetry...

12-28-2005, 07:42 PM
It's amusing to see that reviewing poetry is somewhat like wine-tasting. We'll resort to very personal, almost obscure commentary to express our reactions in hopes of having others see and feel what we do. It's fun and eventually, I'll end up with a tipsy tingle behind my eyes.

12-28-2005, 08:03 PM
I like the photograph - it makes me want to write a poem.

12-28-2005, 09:13 PM
I love this one; brief and very profound. It zapped me. (Zapp=instant smile accompanied with strong "yes!")
I agree with Unique on the photo--moody.

12-29-2005, 12:06 AM
Another one of my favorite poems. Stephen Crane is certainly NOT known for his poetry, but I have always been blown away by how he can say so much in so very, very few words.

12-29-2005, 04:42 PM
I keep coming back to look at the picture. I think it's the Svengali eyes. Help.

12-29-2005, 04:47 PM
Hmm, this reads to me like prose arranged differently.

So, I have a question:

Does being pithy qualify as poetry? Or expressing a statement but arranging the words so they do not run in a straight line?

Enquiring minds want to know...