Back Story: (Parent)hetical by Jessie Carty
Two of my poems have appeared previously in Rose and Thorn Journal, but I want to tell you a bit of the back story regarding my most recently publication: "(Parent)hetical."
The first thing you may notice about the poem is that the title uses parenthetical marks. In 2010 I became interested in using parenthetical marks in poetry. Part of my fascination came after reading work by Cati Porter (who also has a great blog post about the ways parenthesis may be used as a rhetorical device in poetry).
In the case of “(Parent)hetical” I used the parenthesis to find, and set apart, words within words. As I was working on the poem, I found that I could also make a bit of a phrase out of the words within words. Thus you could read the poem, just in the parenthesis, as Parent - as if it was a title- our fine ailing parent who is an idea.
Does that fit in with the theme of the poem? Did I cheat a bit by having “ail” and “ing” in two different words? Maybe yes on both, but the joy of trying something new—like playing with parenthetical marks—is that you can determine what rules you want to use.
In other poems, I have used the parenthesis to indicate that the words inside the marks can be read separate from the rest of the poem, or you could say that they add a different meaning if you put them back in.
If you haven’t played with parentheticals, I’d highly recommend it. It was a fun exercise.
Jessie Carty's writing has appeared in publications such as, MARGIE, decomP and Connotation Press. She is the author of four poetry collections which include Fat Girl (Sibling Rivalry, 2011) as well as the award winning full length poetry collection, Paper House (Folded Word 2010). Jessie teaches at RCCC in Concord, NC. She is also the editor for Referential Magazine. She can be found around the web, especially at jessiecarty.com. Read (Parent)hetical in the fall 2011 issue of Rose & Thorn Journal.