Modern art is not extinct. Although many aging intellectuals have given this century the gloomy prognosis that this is the death of creativity, originality, and craftsmanship, that’s only because every generation wished it could be the last. Walt Whitman and Dante Alighieri are dead, but that doesn’t mean poetry is, too.
On Friday, Dec. 7, the Undergraduate Students for Publishing will hold its bi-annual book launch in the Bill Bordy at 7 p.m. Sophomore writing, literature, and publishing major Kaleb Worst will be one of two undergraduate authors to have their work published by the club. His collection of poems Bad Poetry will, even if in a small way, prove to the naysayers that poetry continues to beat on in this time of bubblegum thought.
Poetry is difficult to interpret because it not only attempts to tell a story, but to tell it personally, sometimes without rationality. Worsts’ poetry runs a voyage for the mind. The seemingly unstructured verses flow to nowhere in particular. But they flow. The words tie together, visually representing the neurons in his stream of consciousness which lead the reader on an overwhelming journey through one man’s subconscious. However, the obviously ingrained isolation of the author from one’s own understanding shouldn’t push a reader away because his work leaves room for personal construal. Either you feel something, or you don’t.
His poem “learning to deal #5”: “went to the boxing match today/ forever vs. some kind of truth/ I woulda bet/ but someone slipped their hand into my pocket/ and now I’ve got nothing/ for betting” could be interpreted in an uncountable number of ways. Whether the reader is experiencing minor problems or trauma, the “someone” could be anything holding the reader back: ex-boyfriends, bills, anxiety, or self-doubt. Maybe it’s the opposite. “Someone” knows if we bet we will lose, so it’s saving us the trouble. Worst could have had an entirely different perception of his poem, but it doesn’t matter, because poetry is entirely dependent on the reader’s subjectivity.
Not all of Worst’s poems are abstract. His poem “Kyle Died Twice When He Ate Peanut Butter On An Egg” simply reads: “He was allergic to both/ and should have known better.”
In his poem “poetry meeting”, Worst describes why he chose to write his name Kaleb (worst) on the cover of his literary debut writing: “kaleb worst lives in Boston/ kaleb (worst) lives in Fairyland./ and maybe they’re slowly becoming/ the same person, but kaleb (worst)/doesn’t know that & it’s good enough for me.” This describes the disconnection and entanglement between one’s physical person and one’s thoughts, which is all poetry had ever been.
Levina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.