Jul 12 2010

Comment turned into a post


I’m reposting this from the comments, because

a) my answer got rather long
b) and, I thought, interesting,
c) and people who read the blog via Facebook don’t see the comments, generally, so they’d miss out.

Author Victoria Janssen was kind enough to complement me on a poem I posted. I said:

Victoria –


I’ve never considered myself any kind of poet. It’s just that I’ve noticed that recently some of my thoughts are falling into poem-shaped forms. And when I look at the result, it seems to say what I want to say, so what the heck.

Why this is happening recently, I don’t know.

But it does make me think about something I read — can’t remember who said it, maybe W.H. Auden? Judson Gerome? Hm. One of those poets, writing about poetry. If I could remember the exact wording, I could google it. But I can’t.

Anyway the gist of it was that in order for someone to write a poem, there needs to be some sort of impediment to communication. That is, if you could say what you wanted to say and have it understood, you’d just say it. But because you can’t, because there’s something in the way, you use poetry.

I haven’t quoted that well, or possibly even correctly. I’ll see if I can find the right quote, later.

But what I took away from the quote when I first came across it, ages ago, was the idea that there would be something in the way; that you’d have to work around it; and that the techniques you use to do that end up generating poetry.

I certainly don’t believe that’s always the case, or even most often the case. But I do think that it’s one way that people turn to writing poetry.

So, what could possibly be impeding my communication at the moment, such that I must turn to poetry? Could it be this incredible tangle of knotted yarn which is calling itself my next novel?

can it?

Could it?

Can sheer frustration be driving me to poetry?

So… okay.

And once I’ve got a poem-shaped thing, what the heck – post it! Can’t tell if it sucks or not? So what?

This is part of my new philosophy of Be a Lot Braver Than You Have Been in the Past Before It’s Too Late.

I’ll report back later on how that’s working out for me…