Thursday, August 20, 2009

Poetry and Me

Though I had dabbled in poetry in high school and college, I believed I would be strictly a prose writer until I worked the tech side of a faculty poetry site at Hofstra University. Coaching my friend Rob Plath through HTML coding, I began to develop opinions on the work submitted and to try my hand at serious poetry. It was great to brainstorm with Rob. Writing my poems now mostly alone in this room, I don't get much chance for in-person feedback, nor do I feel the need to send my friends every poem-in-progress.

As an undergrad, I wrote two lyrical poems that seemed to say everything I needed to express poetically for the next two years. Looking at them today, I can hardly make sense of them, and I can't imagine any one poem will cure me of the need to write again.

I don't see this as self-indulgent. I think nursing hurts and other issues into "big" poems is self-indulgent. For me, a poem can never lose sight of the specific moment, the context that begins a conversation with readers.

True, poetry doesn't make money, and on the whole it's less recognized than prose, but like no other form, poetry reminds me why I write anything, to get to the heart, to approach what is difficult to express and try to express it anyway. These may be big concerns in the end, but I can only imagine tackling them one small poem at a time.

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