Journal of Writing & Environment

Web Rove: Unconventional Viewpoints

by Corrina Carter

A writer must have a good reason for venturing outside an expected point of view (human, first or third person, etc.). Otherwise, her work will derive power from novelty alone. With that in mind, I combed the Internet for stories or poems told from unusual perspectives and flagged the rare pieces with substance. Those pieces are linked below.

Smoked Carp” by Anne Germanacos (from Agni Online)

It is difficult to write in the second person without generalizing excessively. It is even more difficult to organize a series of questions into a narrative arc. Germanacos does both. The final line (“Are you merely my type? Or truly someone special?”) is particularly potent.

The Lambs Wool Strap Speaks from the Gurney, 1915” by Cynthia Marie Hoffman (from Blackbird)

The premise of Hoffman’s poem is bizarre: a scrap of wool used to tie the wrists of a woman in labor recalls its life as a lamb. However, the wool’s deep respect for human suffering—it tries to be “as soft as I can remember”—lifts the work from a gimmick to a wrenching endorsement of compassion.

Excerpt from The Faulkes Chronicle by David Huddle (from Blackbird)

This selection, a meditation on the death of a homely mother who grows beautiful in her cancer-haunted final days, stands out for its successful use of the collective voice. The “we” narrator reminds us that the loss of a single life diminishes us all.

Partridge: Paradise Lost” by Meg Kearney (from Agni Online)

Authors able to inhabit the minds of animals without stripping their subjects of wildness are hard to find. Count Meg Kearney among them. Her partridges love, grieve, and wonder but also understand the world in terms of “toe-scratch,” “egg heat,” and “seed-hunger.”