Written for:  dVerse Poets Pub - "Edges and Fringes"
(posted by msjadeli)

" . . . I finally decided on a two-pronged discussion on edges and fringes with prompts coming out of it. Carol’s poem, “Knife-edge,” stuck with me. I started thinking what would it look like to be edgy with poetry. Doing a google search on it, I came up with many sites devoted to Sylvia Plath’s poem, Edge, which I haven’t yet read but it led me to a short essay by Claire Millikin about Plath’s techniques in it and her other poems that makes them work so well."


 Claire Millikin believes:

 Any poem cannot be read all the way through, that is completely understood, until the circumstance of its writing, including the life of the poet from which it emerged, are set, done… The edge is where the poem shows everything that is left out of the poem.

 As a reader, how do we proceed then? Will we have to fill in the blanks and hope we guess right? If we are the poet, how can we make ourselves understood as best we can while being un-”done”?

Finally Millikin asks:
 What is the word, the line, that cuts, that can show that edge?

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to spark on one of these paths:
 Write a poem using the word edge;
 Write a poem that keeps Millikin’s question above in mind.
 Write a poem using the word fringe;
 Write a poem from the fringe, however you define it.
 Whatever you choose, please indicate your choice # somewhere on your post.
 As a bonus challenge, please tell why you chose the one you did.

He was a far away
fringe on the out
-skirts of a pool,
a school playground,
or a game.  Shame he
could not break through
the unseen filament
that held him back
from mingling
with others.  They
thought him aloof.  They
could not see the fringe.

My choice was to write from the fringe.
I was thinking of all the bullying
that goes on, and how one feels
when they are the new kid.


About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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15 Responses to Outside

  1. msjadeli says:

    I like where you took this Sara. Bullying is a modern disease for sure. I wondering if it was so prevalent back in the hunting/foraging days of humankind? You know that Joni Mitchell song about clouds? I feel like I could sing it but replace the word bully in there. I’ve been on the receiving end of it, the bullying end of it, the observer, the researcher — a lot of research has been done on it, but a lot more is needed — and saw a tremendous amount of it when I worked with kids on my job with juvenile probation. What often happened is that the bully(ies) would push the target into snapping, they’d attack the bully(ies) usually in the sight of school staff because they were acting on emotion or impulse, and then they’d get charged with assault. What we used to do was refer them to restorative justice, which invited all of the involved kids and their parents in for a mediation. Each person in the healing circle was allowed to speak and tell it from their perspective. Unfortunately many times the “victims” (i.e. the real bullies) and their parents refused to attend. Fortunately, because the court order said refer to restorative justice and follow recommendations, and there were no recommendations, the charge was dismissed and the real victim (i.e. the target) had no lasting criminal record.


    • That must have been quite a frustrating job.
      More likely that bullies were always around.

      Liked by 1 person

      • msjadeli says:

        Sara it’s the kind of job where you see so much but there is so little that you can actually do much about. We cherished any small victories. Kids have it rough in this world. Especially teenagers. So many adults don’t know how to relate to them and so tune them out or write them off. Just having someone treat them with respect and listen to them can make a big difference in their worlds.


      • The adjustment from teen to adult, can be terrifying for some.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. robtkistner says:

    Hi Sara , arthritis flaring, typing excruciating, but good work!


  3. Aloof or alone… it’s so hard to know the difference…


  4. Zelda Rene says:

    There you are, my fave “Alice” site! Your poem is perfection–bullying, so heartbreaking…and we wonder how people grow up to be monstrous?


  5. Helen Dehner says:

    Fringe is beautiful … pity they could not see it. Cheers!


  6. memadtwo says:

    You’ve captured that feeling of being on the outside looking in well. I especially like this line–fringe on the out–the way you cut the word in half is very effective. (K)


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