Friday, February 7, 2014

Review of "Onomatomania" by Thomas Lux

"Onomatomania" by Thomas Lux was offered by Poets.org's Poem-A-Day on February 7, 2014.  A link to the poem, including the poet's notes, may be found here:  http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23856.

Thomas Lux (b. 1946) is the Bourne Professor of Poetry and Director of the McEver Visiting Writers Program and the Poetry at Tech Program at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  He has numerous published books of poetry to his name and has received many prestigious grants and fellowships.  Additional biographical information may be found here:  http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/115?utm_source=PAD%3A+Onomatomania+by+Thomas+Lux&utm_campaign=poemaday_020714&utm_medium=email.

The poem is presented in twenty-seven lines (including the title) of irregular free verse.  The poem begins by defining "onomatomania" as "the word for the inability to find the right word."  However, Wordsmith.org's A.Word.A.Day defines it as "an obsession with particular words or names and desire to recall or repeat them" http://wordsmith.org/words/onomatomania.html.  After providing this questionable definition, the speaker, presumably the poet, goes on to "self diagnose" himself as an "onomatomaniac."  Further down, the poet proves that he is at least a "maniac" when he equates Mahatma Gandhi with Joseph Goebbels.  After that, I must confess, I stopped reading in disgust.

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