“Overheard,” by Maeve B., is a short yet succinct poem found in the November issue. With only a couple words per line, Brennan conveys an entire scene with astonishing clarity. A child seems to be overhearing one of their parents leaving the other, only relying on their ears to perceive what is happening. This poem is exceptional in various ways, from word choice to its brevity.
One of the outstanding features of this poem is how it only uses onomatopoeia and dialogue to create the entire story. This strategy is made successful through Maeve’s masterful word choice. An example of this skillful use of phrasing is, “swoosh. / whack. / ‘love’s a sham.’” Even though it is never explicitly stated, it is obvious that the leaving person has hit the other, who is their partner. This is a prime example of what we all learned in third grade: “show not tell.” Another striking feature of this poem is its clarity. There is almost no context, yet it is clear what is happening and who is involved. There is no explanation needed because of the poet’s phenomenal phrasing and word choice. One interesting part of this poem is its lack of visuals. They are not necessary in conveying the scene, which is an impressive feat.
“Overheard,” by Maeve B., is an extraordinary poem that portrays an entire scene in only 18 words.