Note: Taken from 'The Best Poems of 1923' (Leonard A.G. Strong ed.) One of my favourite poetic forms is the vignette, a short poem that seeks to capture a single scene or image. These little vignettes are often strongly evocative of a particular art-form, such as watercolour, etching etc. Today's is definitely a photograph - straightforward description without embellishment, abstraction or other stylistic effects. In fact, one may wonder, with such an absence of poetic devices, exactly what makes this such a good poem. The most immediately striking feature is it's vividity - I can *see* the man, leaning away from the tower, outlined against the sky. And this Hoard has achieved not through metaphor or allusion, but by pinpointing precisly the salient features of the scene. So sharply do the workman, the tower and the 'toy-house town' define the scene that the reader's mind automatically fills in the background details, producing the photographic effect. Compare this poem to Levertov's 'To the Reader' (Minstrels Poem #201). Levertov might have eschewed metaphor and allusion, but Hoard takes the process a step further - he has avoided playing with foregrounding, focus and perspective for artistic effect. His focus is utterly 'natural'; describing the scene in much the was a straightforward prose piece would, but making every word and image count. Biography: I couldn't find one; nor could I find any poem other than 'Sky Line'. Still, all in all it's a pretty good claim to fame. Links: Levertov's poem is at poem #201 The point about the 'natural focus' might become a little clearer if you compare it to the following sample of poems poem #23 is a typically beautiful haiku 'Song' poem #61 is a very different kind of picture-poem 'Pippa Passes' poem #133 has the details creating the background, rather than the foreground 'A route of Evanescence' poem #174 is far more 'impressionistic' And finally, 'Crucible' poem #205 is perhaps the opposite of today's poem - the whole scene is deliberately set up and focused on for artistic effect. m.