Judith Leet John R. Reed - Essay

John R. Reed

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Pleasure Seeker's Guide] is narrative and only narrative. I honestly do not feel that there is any good reason why these compositions need to be called poems at all. There usually isn't much for prosody to seize upon (rhythm, rhyme, assonance, consonance, figurative language, syntactic structure), and there are no memorable lines. However, Ms. Leet is an excellent story-teller, and she knows it. She even titles one piece "The White Tower (A Novel in the Form of a Poem)." But the form is a disguise, not a true identity. Behind the poetic form, it is still prose. Similarly, "Overlooking the Pile of Bodies at One's Feet" is a monologue that might have worked more effectively as a personal essay, a short story, or even a stand-up comic's routine…. So far as I am concerned, it is prose…. There is a good deal of wry humor in Ms. Leet's writing, but it is so dominated by simple story-telling—to the injury of any poetic development—that I can feel only that she would be far happier working in some other medium. Perhaps she is writing a novel. (p. 87)

John R. Reed, in The Ontario Review (copyright © 1976 by The Ontario Review), Fall-Winter, 1976–77.