Sloppy little word
its p and th and its whining y
something muttered
with a head cold and a lisp
tiny linty pill of wool
that evolves on an old tired sweater
sounds like a spit
a cat’s hiss

But alas
it means succinct

Not a whine or a drag at all, really

in a nutshell, jam-

compendious . . . mmm, nice one
-Lucy Maud would roll it right off Marilla’s tongue

aphoristic, apothegmatic
-some doozies, prim without punch

-now you’re talking

heavy, weighty
meaty, profound

Pithy, you did alright.
You are sharply focussed.
You are finely honed.
You are essential.

But be careful with your essence
-you live right above pitiable and its fraternal twin pitiless

Questions and Answers

A.   As a published writer, what are your tips or words of motivation for the aspiring poet?

Attending poetry events or festivals is a fantastic way to tap into one’s own poetic aspirations. Immersing oneself among other poets who offer a variety of themes and style allows for kinship, exposure and shared enthusiasm for the precious delicacy of poetic expression.

B.   What poetic techniques did you use in this poem? How much attention do you pay to form and meter?

Since the subject of this poem is the word, ‘pithy,’ I paid close attention to word choice. I selected words that are unexpected but still satisfying to the ear when read aloud thanks to their vowels, alliterations or endings. During the editing process, I fixated on individual stanzas to ensure that each word fit in that space, keeping with the desired tone. I like to keep in mind that stanza is the Italian word for room. As for meter and form, I tend toward free verse and do not deliberately count syllables and stresses but rhythm and pacing is always at the fore.

Please note that works on the Canadian Literature website may not be the final versions as they appear in the journal, as additional editing may take place between the web and print versions. If you are quoting reviews, articles, and/or poems from the Canadian Literature website, please indicate the date of access.