Consider the Platypus

May 25, 2022 § 2 Comments

In Brevity‘s recent May issue, Randon Billings Noble examines the “daringness” of the lyric essay, how it relies on intuition more than exposition, image more than narration, and question more than answer.

“But despite all this looseness,” she writes, “the lyric essay still has the responsibilities of any essay: to try to figure something out, to play with ideas, to show a shift in thinking (however subtle).”

Noble sees in the lyric essay a mammal of sorts, but

one that lays eggs; semiaquatic, living in both water and on land; and venomous, a trait that belongs mostly to reptiles and insects. It will run away if on land—its gait that of a furry alligator—or swim off in the undulating way of beavers. Either way it can threaten you with a poisoned spur before it ripples off.

Noble goes on to classify four common forms of the lyric essay—flash, segmented, braided, and hermit crab—and examines the inner workings of each.

You can read the full essay here in Brevity’s Craft Section.

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§ 2 Responses to Consider the Platypus

  • We are but mammals, you and I
    Together with the platypi
    Our species not in short supply
    Such is our wish to multiply
    We live on land yet yearn to fly
    To hope just once, before we die
    This gravity to yet defy
    To rise one day, and touch the sky

    Sorry. I’ve always been frustrated that the plural for platypus remains so unpoetic.

  • […] I was considering the platypus last night whilst drinking heavily and cursing, yet again, the NYC Midnight judges, and thought it […]

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