The Alchemist Review

Karen J. Weyant’s “The Summer I Stopped Catching Bees”


Poem: “The Summer I Stopped Catching Bees”
Poet: Karen J. Weyant
Magazine: Glass: A  Journal of Poetry L. Dunbar

The title of this poem intrigued me as soon as I saw it.  As I started to read it, it gave me a very clear picture of what was happening in the poem.  I really like the adjective she uses to describe things.  For example,  “stale whiff, sharp click, haughty hues, proud hum, thin twirl wirl of a girl, quick shimmy, lofty shake.” I also really like Weyant’s verb choices.  She has the coffee cans “smother” and “snap” at the bees.  I really like “ qu,” and she used “squeeze,” which I love.

Alliteration is used in a section of the poem describing Cindy Mills.  “I watched her/ in English class that day, saw her shrink/ into a shadow.  Slouched forward,/ shoulders hunched, her whole body curved.”  This is an important tool she uses to draw the readers attention to how Cindy Mills was feeling.  Weyant continues to use many S words throughout the poem, such as “ scowl, swell, stared, stranded, soft, screenless, shimmy, shake.”

Weyant does a great job of de-familiarizing the ordinary.  She starts off the poem describing the bees as something fun, something she wanted. An innocent game she played.  As the poem progresses, the “bees” turn out to be something she doesn’t want.  The innocence of the bees ended when her boy classmates teased Cindy Mills about her “yelledEbee stings.”  After hearing that, the speaker decided to let her bees go and stop catching them.  Perhaps this is a symbol of letting her childhood go and becoming a young woman.

To me, this is a great example of creative writing. When I first read the poem, I expected it to be a cute poem all about bees.  I would have never guessed that it would transform into the story of the first girl in fifth grade to wear a bra.  This reminded me of “The Triggering town” in the sense of unexpected things having a connection.