Hello and welcome…. I’m John. I am an aspiring poet who has been writing poetry longer than my memory recalls.
And that is so true. I feel that poetry is not purposely done, It’s really more like a fundamental part of who the poet is. It’s like sleeping or eating. When your passion erupts it just is, and you write it down just as when you sit at the table to eat when you feel hungry.
Anyway that’s how I feel about poetry.
And though I’ve been writing poetry all of my life, (while also using conjunctives such as ‘and’ to begin sentences for almost as long – much to the abhorrence of my sixth grade English teacher – Sister Collette, God rest her dear heart ) – I am still trying to find my poetic voice, which seems to change fairly often. In any regard I shall always consider myself an aspiring poet as I feel none of us could possibly know it ourselves if we have ever achieved that full level of mastery. I’m certain it is up to the reader to decide such and not the writer himself. And because there are so many potential readers – both now and after I am gone and buried – there is no way I could ever claim myself as a bona fide poet. In fact, I’d say that I am barely scraping by as human.
I also like to hear myself talk – and feel that God has blessed me with exceptional logic ability. I’m sure that has nothing to do with my poetry – but it certainly makes me arrogant. For the first 50 years of my life I was embarrassed by my arrogance, often playing down my abilities to avoid seeming that way. But my second divorce made me realize that there are so very few people worth expending such worry over, even those you have devoted yourself to. So from that point forward I decided to no longer care how others perceive me. Now I only care of what I think of others. I am what I am, as my early childhood hero Popeye always said. And I, John, am simply arrogant. It doesn’t mean I don’t love others. But if you count the number of times that the word “I” was used in this paragraph – then you will be that much closer to understanding who “I” am. “I” counted 13 times. Four “me”‘s and five “my”‘s.
Above Twain was remarking on expert opinion which can easily overlook the beauty of any piece by dissecting its flaws. To me this analogy is perfect for critics of poetry who deem to define what poetry is. Can it be exact form, such as number of syllables or precise meter in a given number of lines and stanzas or repeating words and phrases? Certainly. And that can be fun – for the writer. But what for the reader? I think the reader might only enjoy it in admiration, as one might admire another’s ability to complete the Sunday Time’s crossword puzzle. Because that’s what most form poetry is: squeezing words into a geometrically shaped box. I think it robs the writer of a world-sized toolbox, or palette, so to speak. But I applaud those who can do it well. I simply regret that great poets such as Emily Dickinson were chastised for not con”form”ing to contemporary standards and therefore did not receive recognition during her lifetime for being perhaps the greatest American poet who ever lived.
As for admiring form over content, I believe the art world would be at a loss without the addition of painters like Picasso. Coloring outside the lines can often be more beautiful than coloring within them. Sometimes beauty comes from using a conjunctive to start a sentence, because beauty is not a word, a sentence, or a paragraph. It is a flowing vision. When I sit down to a fine supper of fried catfish fillet I don’t want to see the creatures innards on the table’s centerpiece. For what purpose? Knowing that it once had a stomach and assorted entrails has little bearing for my taste buds. And comparing this part or that part to those of a catfish eaten long ago is of little consequence to me in all form. For that reason I am only an aspiring fisherman. And forever I hope to remain an aspiring poet. Thank you for coming by…….