Poetry from A Small Place

Right now, I’m taking Beginning Poetry at UF. It’s a really fun elective– each week we right poems and share them in front of the class. This week, we didn’t have any guidelines except to write about something we’ve been “thinking about a lot”. After considering my topic choice, I decided to write a poem based on A Small Place.


A Small Place by Shelby Boehm

You’ve arrived at your new destination, ugly tourist.

Take in the sweet breezes and

Swim in the clear ocean which is visible from your

Inordinate inn—don’t forget the postcards!

While you window shop on cobblestone courts and

Tiny umbrellas are tossed into your drink,

Take a second look and talk to the residents

Who will tell you how another day in paradise really feels.

There’s decaying architecture outside your resort and

That turquoise ocean you came for is our sewer.

Antiguans languish for a vacation

But they can never leave Eden.

Greetings from Antigua—

Wish you were here!

When reading this essay, I always thought it was interesting to put yourself in the perspective of the “ugly tourists” and also in contrasting view of the residents there. Coming from a big tourist spot in Florida, I understand how the residents of Antigua get irritated with people vacationing when they’re trying to live their daily lives. I also think it’s interesting how Kincaid’s message, although she writes in an angry and condescending tone towards the reader, gets across and is conveyed more easily this way. I attempted this in my poem, but it didn’t really work out that way since it came across more sarcastically than anything. I encourage anyone who likes poetry to consider taking the class CRW1301– I’ve learned a lot about words and have read a lot of amazing poems along the way!

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