"Poetry? I just don't get it..."

It is difficult
 to get the news from poems, 
                   yet men die miserably every day 
                                  for lack 
of what is found there.

                            William Carlos Williams
  
Poetry? For most, it comes from a galaxy far, far away; written by people long, long ago. And yet there are thousands of poetry books, chapbooks, and broadsides that keep sliding down the chute. And thousands more literary journals and online magazines, all publishing poems, all hosting competitions.

Thousands write poems…but who actually reads or listens to it? Not many. Pretty much the only audience out there for poetry is other poets. It is a very insular world, one that seems to purposefully exclude the non-poet. I think this is mostly because most contemporary poetry is incomprehensible to the non-poet. But with a just a bit of explanation from the poet, many poems become more accessible. It doesn't mean they aren't still a little strange and 'hard'. Here's what the great American bard William Carlos Williams once said about this:
 
I wanted to write a poem
that you would understand.
For what good is it to me
 
if you can't understand it?
 
But you got to try hard –

                            from” January Morning”
                            
Indeed. But you don’t need to attend an MFA program in poetry for two years in order to gain admission into the dark, rapturous, goofy, and strange theme park of Poetry Land. Below are links from the infrequently appearing section I call: “Poetry? I Just Don't Get It.” They each contain one poem, along with an explanation by the poet.



Erling Friis-Baastad: Andalusian Poems


Miriam Sagan: Diamond Tsunami

Mark Pawlak: Among the Colleagues

1 comment:

  1. What's confusing me is how to connect with the poet in question, namely you Christien. Yes, it is a voice from your past trying to catch up. Touch base when you can. . . .Bill Cushing

    ReplyDelete