The Postmodernist Stanza

08/13/09

The postmodernist stanza does not care
and it really doesn’t care
about the conventions of poetry;
it soars free within the realms of a poem that has no meter
because it hasn’t read Homer
and thinks Milton is a prick
and Shakespeare his sidekick
and that the iambic pentameter is old-school
and like everything old-school, it is a thing of the past.
It is written in free verse
but if it happens to rhyme, like lines six and seven, it doesn’t mind.
And it doesn’t mind, either, if there are no poetic
devices in it, like anaphora, personification, or
enjambment. Not that this particular stanza doesn’t have them.
But if it didn’t, it wouldn’t care less.

It is chained to no form, so it is the jailer of all stanzas that are.
It strolls down the cells and laughs at the sonnet
the limerick, the abecedarian, the quatrain, the couplet
the haiku, and all the others which names it can’t remember.
And they listen with envy, prisoners of their own structures.

The postmodernist stanza can be just one

word

or two

Or just an unfinished sentence with more than two words in it
like the third stanza.

It can be anything. It can even run like a paragraph, like in prose. Lines no longer have to finish in midsentence. There is no unconscious pause from the reader when the line ends. Enjambment is inexistent. And those who write stanzas like this one will call it a prose poem. And why not? The only thing they’ve done is strip a poem of its generic form and stir it all together in a paragraph; then call it a stanza; then call it a poem.

Its lines are laid back:
           indenting with no remorse is
                                                       cool
because
           the postmodernist
                      stanza
                     is not self-conscious.
           It doesn’t really
                                            care
                      about its look.

and if the stanza
doesn’t have punctuation uses poor grammar runs
like the waters of a river rushing
for the sea unstoppable uncaring that’s
fine that’s OK the stanza
welcomes this embraces it asks no questions

And if the stanza doesn’t end
in a complete sentence
like the third, fourth, fifth, and ninth
and this one

it can always be finished
in the following one

or the one after.
It really doesn’t matter:

the postmodernist stanza is free in every way
or at least in every way the poet wants it to be.





Daybert Linares fiction has appeared in Skive Magazine and Cantaraville, and more of his poetry is forthcoming in The Stray Branch and Paradigm Shift: New Paradigm next year. He hopes to become a full-time writer someday. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.