The structure of "The Turn": where poetry and comedy collide
As a poet and a comedian, I have seen poetry and comedy as two genres that are in opposition of one another. Generally speaking, I viewed poetry as a place to reflect upon my anxieties and different forms of loss. Conversely, I viewed comedy as a place to embrace absurdity, moving beyond the boundaries of reality. In this project, I applied theories of poetic structures and philosophies of comedy as a means of analyzing contemporary collections of comedic poetry, stand-up routines, and sketch comedy. Specifically, I compare the work of comedians like John Mulaney, Nate Bargatze, and Joel Kim Booster and poets like Aaron Belz, Morgan Parker, and Erin Adair-Hodges. As I discovered one feature comedy and poetry have in common is “the turn.” The structure of “the turn” overlaps in both genres, especially in relation to the techniques of imagery, persona, and confession. Finally, I use my analysis to curate my own collection of comedic poems that showcase these three elements and demonstrate how “the turn” is used in drawing crucial connections between these two genres.