John Updike

Worst Poems
Our thoughts on John Updike's poems
Poems by John Updike
Exploring John Updike
Critics Viewpoint On John Updike
Giving Credit When Credit Is Due
Comparison of John's poem and TOOL's song.
John Updike and Modern Culture
Take a Quiz and become a John Updike addict.

Worst Poems
Our Thoughts
Burning Trash

At night—the light turned off, the filament
Unburdened of its atom-eating charge,
His wife asleep, her breathing dipping low
To touch a swampy source—he thought of death.
Her father's hilltop home allowed him time
To sense the nothing standing like a sheet
Of speckless glass behind his human future.
He had two comforts he could see, just two.

One was the cheerful fullness of most things:
Plump stones and clouds, expectant pods, the soil
Offering up pressure to his knees and hands.
The other was burning the trash each day.
He liked the heat, the imitation danger,
And the way, as he tossed in used-up news,
String, napkins, envelopes, and paper cups,
Hypnotic tongues of order intervened.
Shaun - Not a big fan of this poem because to me it feels that if there is no structure to it or a rhytm, although John's poem is mostly story based instead of just a feeling or theory it still seems sluggish to me and very "bouncy".
Flight to Limbo
(First Stanza)
The line didn’t move, though there were not
many people in it. In a half-hearted light
the lone agent dealt patiently, noiselessly, endlessly
with a large dazed family ranging
from twin toddlers in strollers to an old lady
in a bent wheelchair. Their baggage
was all in cardboard boxes. The plane was delayed,
the rumor went through the line. We shrugged,
in our hopeless overcoats. Aviation
had never seemed a very natural idea.
Charlene - This poem is my least favorite because it’s about flying, and I am scared of flying.  I hate the airports because they are to busy.  I always end up at the end of the terminals and have to walk so far to where I need to catch my flight.  When you are in an airplane, you are trapped in this little spot with no where to go.
Venetian Candy
(First stanza)
How long will our bewildered heirs
marooned in possessions not theirs
puzzle at disposing of these three
cunning feignings of hard candy in glass—
the striped little pillowlike mock-sweets,
the flared end-twists as of transparent paper?
Vong-  This poem did not have any rhyme or rhythm.  This poem could have definately used some rhyming because Updike is talking about the same thing most of the time.  He should have rhymed candy names together.  This would have made the poem a lot more enjoyable for everyone because the title gives the whole poem a nice tone to it.  When the reader does start reading the poem and finds out that the title set a whole different tone than what the poem says the reader would be annoyed.  I felt this way, and that's why this made the worst poem on my list.