On Fenn, the Architect

Image1At the Collected Works event on October 22, 2013, Fenn said, “It took me 15 years to write the poem. I’ve changed it so many times and I’ve said before that I didn’t write that poem…it was written by an architect…each word is deliberate.

At the Moby Dickens event on November 2, 2013, Fenn said, “The poem in my book is something that changed over and over again. When you read the poem it looks like just simple words the…but I guarantee you, I worked on that thing...I felt like an architect, drawing that poem.

When I heard him say it the first time at Collected Works, it sounded new…like he was trying the metaphor out to see if it fit with the way he speaks and writes…a trial balloon. By Moby Dickens, it sounded a bit more refined, like he had tried it out a couple more times since Collected Works.

Both my daughter and my son-in-law are architects. I asked them to look at the quotes, and I asked them to look at the poem and tell me what they thought.

Basically, their response was, “Architects don’t draw. Draftsmen do. And writing a poem is nothing like architecting an enclosed space.”

I think it’s Fenn taking verbal liberties, as he is wont to do, and playing, with the language. I think he uses “architect” (as a noun) in the same way a “builder” would use a box of lego blocks and a set of instructions (blueprint) to get to a finished project. All the pieces, of various sizes, shapes and colors have to fit together in order to complete the project.

In his case, I’ll hypothesize, the “blueprint” was in his head, and took 15 years to get to a synchronous finish.