A lot of people don’t like poetry. What many of them tell me is, “I don’t get it”, which makes sense because poetry is its’ own language. The host language is used as a tool to create a personal communication between the poet and the mysteries. Ideally, an effective– an inspired poem, transcends the host language.
I started writing poetry in my tweens after reading… I wish I could say Rimbaud or Whitman, but no, it was Rod McKuen’s, Listen to the Warm.
That was all it took. The suggestion that warm can be heard, crystalized for me all that I had been trying to understand about metaphor. Of course, I also believe that warm can actually be heard, which puts me in the transcendental poets’ camp I suppose.
Thus, the crux of my mission as a poet: to use language as a tool to transcend language, to break the bonds of representation with symbols– to reveal the paradoxical truths.
The fun part how you use your tool. For example, I love commas. Here is an example of coma usage I was really excited about.
Why?( I promise this is the only time I will ever impose explanations of my poetry on you, but it is for a higher purpose.)
Because the comma changes the meaning of this well-known phrase from–when I am in this other locale, it feels similar to being at home, to —being in this locale and the other locale are the same. The poems meaning; violence in the U.S. and violence in Mexico are equally horrific and by correlation- do not differentiate violence, violence is horrific, is foreshadowed with this simple punctuation. All that from a little comma, if I was successful with the rest of the poem that is.
Recently I was looking at the statistics page of my blog and I noticed that people infrequently click on the links in my posts. Clicking, in “wordpresspeak” means clicking on a link within a post. As I contemplated that, I realized the similarities between links and the tools I use in poetry.
Although many links are pretty straightforward explanation buttons, they are also used by a blogger to create more content depth within a limited format. Many bloggers have a standard word count, frequently 500 words. I shoot for a thousand or less, because I often tell stories, and for me one thousand words is more suitable for storytelling. Still, it is sometimes difficult to get the impact I want within that parameter, and that is where the photos( such as this Don Quixote reference) and links come in.
For example, this is a favorite link, Espanto, from Dinner and a Swat Team. If you read this link you will learn that the Chamula Indians of Chiapas believe humans have 13 souls including one which resides in a wild animal called a wayjel, and that soul loss can occur due to a fall or seeing a demon on a dark night. They also believe that animals and trees have souls, a belief not incongruous with those of a transcendental poet.
Some links are like a map; follow this road and you will reach this destination, a point A to point B situation. But some links are like the map’s legend,— it is a key, and that is where links, like poetry can lead you off the beaten path…come with me
Do you click? Why? Why not?
And just for fun Maps and Legends
A couple of interesting articles if this post got you in “clicking mode”
- Borrowing great poetry from the Great Poets – the Cento poem (redvinylchair.com)
- New York Uses Poetry to Make Roads Safer for Pedestrians (smartsign.com)
Hi Abby – I love your blog but I’m one of the guilty parties who does all they can to avoid clicking on hyperlinks (though I use them in my own blog from time to time – how’s that for hypocrisy?). The reason is because of what they do to our brains (and here’s one last hyperlink to explain THAT):
Like Beckett and a handful of others your prose has the concentration of poetry at all times.
Hi Kevin! thanks for the great article. I am aware of many techno ‘dangers’ though not specifically this about links. Reminds me of this:
“For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise.” Plato (Phaedrus 274c-275b)
Isn’t life strange and wonderful? I so appreciate your insightful comments. paz, Abby
I always click. Clicked this time. Was glad I clicked. Loved your post.
Wow, really? That’s cool/ interesting. I click some. My time on line is limited, as you know, and I get brain burn really fast. Kind of depends on the blogger too. It’s fun learning peoples practices and motivations. Many thanks for commenting 🙂 a
I love the idea that ‘warm’ can be heard… what a delicious idea 🙂 You’re right, a lot of people, even those who love to read, shy away from poetry (perhaps from bad school experiences?). I love poetry and am unfamiliar with McKuen am looking forward to exploring his work now.
Loved clicking on all the different links in this post…. a fun, and often unexpected, journey 🙂
As always thank you for visiting :)Letizia. It has been many years since I read Mr. McKuen and as I recall his work is pretty, humm… hokey? that is why I wished I could have said, Whitman, but as I said I haven’t read him since I was a teenager. Let me know what you think.
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