The Poet

I have written
too many poems;

This idea of writing too many poems is very interesting. It poses important question about the motivation of the poet, his identity, and how he perceives the role of his art. Has he written some of these excess poems for the wrong reasons? - Kyle Austin, age 25

they live now
in refugee camps,
inside tents.

Dacey’s portrayal of the poet (who we might presume to be any and all poets) amusingly begins with a stark confession of weakness. And what an interesting thought—the potential of prolificity as flaw.Counterintuitively, with this confession, the writer is also raising our suspicion as to the legitimacy of the poem itself. - Justin Majetich, age 22
While poems obviously require a creator, Dacey views his creations not as static entities, but as living, breathing, progeny possessing the power to move and reside. This image strikes us as true, for when we speak poems, breathing them out from our being, they travel through communication from the poet’s mind into ours, becoming refugees living in a foreign land. - Nathaniel Schmidt, age 27

He pressed his ear
against the shut dictionary
like someone listening
to the party nextdoor.

I like the thought of putting one's ear to the dictionary "like someone listening/ to the party nextdoor." It is as though the words are alive of their own and speaking to the poet, waiting to be heard and expressed through him. - Laura Crouch, age 20
I love the idea of the dictionary’s catalogue of words being like a party that one is not invited to, but longs to crash. Endless possibilities exist in the unknown. - Kara Madden, age 24
stanzas.) The second stanza seems to consider the poet as listener but, ultimately, the action itself is absurd and suggestive of a raucousness incompatible with the hushed tones of library aisles and academic halls. The third image of poet, poses the subject as pool shark, knocking particles of language into place with steely precision but also an inherent playfulness. Both are refreshing approaches to the vocation of the poet. - Justin Majetich, age 22

“Consonants in the side pocket,
vowels in the corner pocket,”
he said, and ran the table.

Note that in each stanza, words—in some form or another—are presented as occupying physical, three-dimensional space. They are not merely abstract sounds floating in the mind or 2D ink on paper but moving, living things inhabiting real space, if only metaphorically. Here it is the pockets of the pool table. In the first two stanzas it is in tents, in party within the dictionary’s cover. The words are always in a place, emphasizing their weight, their gravity, their significance. - Heather Bulliss, age 21
The efficiency of language in representing the multitude of poems that have been created by the writer is stunning. It illustrates beautifully the attempt to organize in the mind the artists work. - Daisy Hall, age 14
This poem is beautiful in its simplicity. It’s interesting to think of poems living “in refugee camps” because they have no place to reside. I think all poets can relate to this poem, there are times of feasts and famine as far as writing goes, and there are often poems that have no home to go to. - Rachel McGuinness, age 20
Dacey shows what he can do with brevity in this poem. Again, images that seem to have nothing to do with the struggles of a poet perfectly describe the frustration and joy that comes with having and overcoming writers block. “He pressed his ear / against the shut dictionary / like someone listening / to the party next door.” – A perfect description of how you can feel so separated from words as a poet, wanting to be with them until, finally, you make your way through the door! - Rian Bosse, age 23
In the last stanza, itself a new poem, we encounter a young man who is arrogant and ambitious. He exists in stark contrast to the first stanza’s meditative and remorseful father as he proclaims his lyric order in a pool-hall. The poet, and not ourselves, controls this situation. Consonants go here; vowels there. To this poet, he is not a father and his craft is not procreative. Instead he is a performer demonstrating a trick-shot. Though this young man does create word-refugees, he remains unaware of his work’s ramifications. He focuses not on the effects of virility, but on his own dexterity. He controls “the table.” He is the master of his own little world, and we are forced to live in it. Our minds become the refugees. - Nathaniel Schmidt, age 27
Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.