Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Poetry or BS?

Recovering from a year of untrained, rhymey, sappy high school poetry, I wrote only two poems as an undergrad. They were prosey, pseudonymous, search-for-meaning poems—the first a call, the second an answer—each two columns of equal-length stanzas that, with some margin play, each took up one page.

I was terribly proud of those two, that together seemed to say all I needed. Years passed before I wrote another poem, and there are times when works-in-progress seem like mountains of words made from molehills of experience and I crave the order and breakthrough power of those two.

The craving passes. Poetry, including formal poetry, is about depicting a moment of life that, while not necessarily autobiographical, is true-to-emotion. To publish poetry assumes one isn't writing for himself but to communicate to others precisely what he feels in the moment. The more a poet forces structure or solutions for his own benefit, the more cryptic his poem becomes.

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