Payday Poetry: Philistina by Danny Nelson

This is a deceptively simple poem best read in the context of the entire project (The FOB Bible). It’s seems a bit underdeveloped in isolation. And yet it still accomplishes what many of us seem to be working on these days — a riffing on scripture that asserts both literalism and metaphor or fable-ness. That underscores the essentialness of historical, familial struggles turned in to literature to people of the Book (Books?). At the very least, it extends the network of personalities that we engage with when we read the Bible, that are in some sense part of the history of Mormons (and people of other faiths as well). Even more — and here you should probably just skip down and click through and read the very short poem itself — it slyly points to the way in which sing-songy, rhyming (bad) poetry is employed by Mormons for didactic means and shows how its a double-edge sword and a two way street.

And again: so far, Theric is the only one who has submitted anything. Spend 15-20 minutes this holiday season and dig up something good for us. Or I’ll be forced to start posting more of my slammin’ rhymes. And nobody wants that.

Title: Philistina

Poet: Danny Nelson

Publication Info: The FOB Bible, 2009

Submitted by: Theric Jepson

Why?: Th. writes: “.

I hope you appreciate that I am limiting myself to one poem per poet included in Plain and Precious Parts. It’s not easy. I picked this one because it was a poem even my father, not a famed devourer of poetry, latched on to immediately and has told many people about. He has brought it up in conversations. I think it’s new point of view gave him equal parts fascination and sadness.”

Wm adds: I do appreciate it. I also appreciate the comment on the new point of view — that’s something that literature can give us that other forms of discourse can’t (or at least can’t in quite the same way).


Here’s the link to the spreadsheet so you can see what’s already been submitted

4 thoughts on “Payday Poetry: Philistina by Danny Nelson”

  1. .

    (Note: the name tag is at the top of the poem, not the illustration. Scroll up to see the intended illustration.)

  2. Seems Ogden Nash may be one of Danny’s inspirations: one of his other poems in the FOB Bible is titled “Jeremiah, a la Ogden Nash.”

  3. .

    And that one is veeerry Ogden Nashy with the ridiculous manipulation of line length by the rhymes.

    At the risk of acclaiming myself here (because I selected most of the Dores), one of the reasons I mentioned that you should look at the accompanying illustration is that I think one of the strengths of the Fob Bible is how we juxtaposed the works with the images. “Philistina” is a striking poem and, as William says, it gives us a “new point of view — … something that literature can give us that other forms of discourse can’t.” It’s great to have a new character to consider. But place it alongside the single most awful moment she could imagine and dramatic irony we would have felt anyway is heightened to the realm of horror. Having David hold Goliath’s head aloft prevents us from overlooking just what exactly she will someday learn happened to her son.

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