March 16th, 2006

alphabetsoup

PUTTING WORDS TOGETHER WELL

The lovely Squeetleynn* over at Sprigs (which my fingers insisted on typing as 'spring' 3x) has been inspiring me and her readers with some wondrous word-art of the loveliest kind: poetry. She didn't know I have a passion for it, which makes me think that particular love of mine hasn't come through very clearly here in my journal.

What kind of poetry you like is so personal, or to put it another way, one person's poetry is another man's poison. I think perhaps it's a little bit like sharing song lyrics. Even though YOU can hear the song in your head when you type those words out, and whatever it is about that song may be moving you profoundly as you write it, it's very doubtful that readers get the same impression. I think most of the time that you can't enjoy the text without the music, but that's not always the case...sometimes song lyrics ARE poetry.

Anyway, I've been in love with poetry since I was a wee thing, and my mom was reading me Wynken, Blynken & Nod and The Owl & the Pussycat. All through my school years I found poets that spoke to me, that raised the hair on the back of my neck, that made me smile or cry, or just plain blew me away. Even though I love many of the old classics (Shakespeare never gets old, does he?) I keep finding new poets that blow me away. There is something about the magic of putting words together well that I find more inspiring, more motivating, more happy-making and more wonderful than nearly anything else.

It doesn't have to be serious poetry, and it doesn't have to be formal, or even free-form. Sometimes the poems that get me are silly and rhyme-y and sometimes they're solemn and sonnety. Being an English major was a great excuse to buy volumes of poetry and I still have a couple of shelves full of favorites: Rainer Maria Rilke, Emily Dickinson, William Stafford, e.e. cummings, Mary Oliver, May Swenson, Elizabeth Bishop, Theodore Roethke, Pablo Neruda, Wallace Stevens, Annie Dillard, Ursula K. Le Guin, Marge Piercy, just to name a very, very few.

What I want a poem to do when I read it is stop me in my tracks, blow the top of my head off, make the back of my throat tender, pull a startled laugh from my stomach, raise my eyes and my shoulders in agreement, sing to me softly, become mine.

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What poem does the same for you?

Bright and Sunny, Really Funny, Wonder-Bunny Happy Birthday Wishes to brief_therapy!

Sweet and Silly, Frosting-Filled, Happy Birthday Wishes to sweet_pickles!

*Hee! I had to use it just once!