Fear of Description by Daniel Poppick
Fear of Description by Daniel Poppick is a collection of modern poetry, mixing prose and metered poems to explore what it’s like to be a young adult in today’s Untied States. Part autobiography, these poems will make you think.
By modern poetry, I mean many of the pieces in Fear of Description are free-form. They don’t contain the rhymes or metric schemes some people might imagine when they think of poetry. This allows Poppick to use the best words to describe the moments he focuses on instead of having to rely on a word that meets the meter or rhyme scheme’s needs. Poetry is so much more than the rigid form often drilled into students in high school.
Some of the lines in Fear of Description will resonate with readers, making them see an object or concept differently. In these moments, Poppick hits upon some kind of truth and describes it in a way readers can experience.
Unfortunately, such resonating lines are frequently interrupted when Poppick turns his poem in an unexpected and unwanted direction. These turns feel like tangents and are often autobiographical bits that don’t seem to have anything to do with the truth or emotion being explored. I could tell Poppick wrote many of these poems from the same inspiration because in later poems he begins to repeat himself.
Poetry is often meant to alter a reader’s perspective and make them think. There are moments in Poppick’s poetry that do this: they resonate in a way that will make you reconsider some aspects of our society. However, at other times, the pieces and their messages were too muddled. Poppick doesn’t stick with one thought long enough. Instead, he mixes them together, jumping from point to point in a manner that is either confusing or oddly boring. If you’re a lover of and conscientious consumer of modern poetry, you might have an easier time deciphering these sections. If you’re looking for straightforward poetry with a clear emotional intent, this collection may not be to your liking.
By the end of Fear of Description, I find myself shrugging. The collection wasn’t terrible, but it didn’t move me in the way I want to be moved when reading poetry. It was too technical and distant when I wanted emotional insight.