Synthetic Smell

by Jeanine Deibel

I thought it was a little girl
who flanked my table
as I read in the public library

like the one I waved to
after we exchanged smiles

but instead I found a woman’s
chiffon skirt that swayed as her legs
sashayed into the mystery aisle

perfume floating in a trail behind

Jeanine Deibel is an MFA Candidate in Poetry at NMSU where she teaches Creative Writing and works as Managing Editor for Puerto del Sol. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Parabola, Calaveras Station and Counterexample Poetics among others. For more information, check out her website.

What first drew you and continues to draw you to writing (particularly) compressed poetry? The allure of compressed poetry, for me, is really about density. I like to optimize the relationship between text and subtext. If an image or scene is conveyed through stark, powerful terms, then there is no waste. In this respect, every element earns its place, creating greater levels of tension and connotation not only between the words, but also between the lines, themselves. Poets who have mastered this technique, such as Emily Dickinson, Robert Creeley and Charles Simic, continue to influence my work in profound ways. As a writer of compressed forms, my goal is to generate abundant meaning through concision of language and space.

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