Sunday, February 16, 1997

Call me barbaric or thoughtless, but for the longest time poetry really never did anything for me. I read the words and knew what they meant, yeah, and could interpret meaning and all that jazz, but poetry never struck me in that deep recess of my soul that other modes of art such as music and visual art did. Maybe it’s because I’m forcing my mind open to everything right now trying to get as much out this canned College Experiencetm as I possibly can, or maybe it’s a sign of some sort of mental maturation (is that a word?), but I’ve found a poet whose works do mean more to me than the words their written with: Elizabeth Bishop. Now, I’m not yet an Elizabeth Bishop expert. In fact, I would say that I’m still not really someone who’se going to be able to discuss her work well. I’m not only naive to who she is, but to what poetry really is (meaning: what it is more than just words on paper). Give me a few years, decades, a lifetime and maybe I’ll feel more secure about it, but until then, how ‘bout a poem? Click right here

Note that it’s in the sestina format. I like this over rhyming structures because it’s a little more subtle. It achieves a certain rhythm by highlighting particular words which are forced to be repeated in a way which is not always obvious. I guess I can’t argue that this is somehow a superior format to rhyming poetry, but I think a sestina allows a little more elegance by suppressing the structure, allowing the meaning to come through with a gentle stroke of form. See how I called myself naive to poetry in the above paragraph? Proof right here.

Now I’m beginning to try and write my own poetry. Maybe I’ll put some up here when I’m feeling better about it — I’m still trying to make absolute damned sure that I am not writing bad teen angst poems.