06 July 2009

What's This? A Poem?!

I have long held a dim view of poetry, in large part due to the self-important pretension I find among its proponents. "Poetry is an art that doesn't have to conform to the rules," they like to say. No, more than even just say; they like to gloat about it, for some reason. It's as though the notion of not having to form complete sentences makes poets superior communicators in their minds. That would be fine with me, except that poetry cannot be understood or explained without complete thoughts; this is why entire volumes of analysis exist to explore the works of a given poet, or even a particular poem. If incomplete thoughts are so great, then why are all of those supplemental materials works of prose, and not poems themselves? Aha! Got you!

Regardless of this private little war of mine, tonight I dashed off a poem and have uploaded it to Google Docs (click here). This piece offers glimpses into the recovery period of its narrator following a loss. Just what the nature of the loss is isn't entirely clear; perhaps a divorce, perhaps death itself. I don't know that it matters. The point is, someone who used to be there isn't there anymore. I think when most of us reflect on such periods in our lives, we only have impressions of ourselves during that time; this is why I felt a poem was the most appropriate format for these scattered images of the narrator.

I suspect this will be a piece I revisit later and revise. I'm not terribly in love with it, and yet it pretty much says everything I intended it to say. That means there must be a better way of saying what I've tried to say, and I shall certainly explore those options as they are revealed to me. (Of course, if you happen to see such an opportunity for improvement, I welcome you to share it with me!)

I've had some thoughts for other pieces I'd like to write next. I can't help but feel that I should try to depict an anxiety attack or a Crohn's flare. After all, I have plenty of firsthand experience with each and I think there is potential for such a piece to have resonance and significance for readers who share those experiences. It is oddly comforting to recognize our own misery in someone else, and I should very much like to provide that comfort, should my aptitude overcome the restraints of my talent and allow me to do so.

I have also thought of writing down at least a few of my own autobiographical anecdotes. Perhaps as a sort of exercise in narcissism, perhaps seeking a catharsis; I suppose it's really more for someone else to evaluate. Regardless, my reading of non-fiction works these last few years has made me mindful of the fact that should I depart this world today, few of the stories I can tell would likely survive me. Whether those stories have any significance to anyone but me, I cannot say--I can only record them, and let future audiences decide for themselves what, if any, meaning they wish to ascribe them.

4 comments:

  1. ah, yes, i did not see the link to completion, I do say that first paragraph alone is quite the misnomer. i did follow said link, to said poem, and quite like it, the last stanza being my favorite, "I woke up a lifetime later, not knowing when it happened, that a moment has passed, and you were gone." -i love this travis poignant and profound. You moved on and didn't realize it. Until it hit you, The pain of the first few days, pressed to be soothed in a night's dream, yet proceeds with aching wound, that at first twinge, emasculation states you are not entitled to feel, yet self righteousness declares that indeed you feel, and feel you do, until you realize your thoughts are no longer captive, and emotions aren't stifled, you are free.

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  2. As always Travis I think we can agree and disagree simultaneously. I don't know what it is about poetry, but it almost always seems to come off as pretentious to me. Perhaps it is the "artsy-fartsy" nature of the author, or perhaps it is their lack of concern for my understanding of their expression, but who knows? All I know is that I can read some poetry and digs right into the very core of my soul as if it had been there all along and known every last thing inside my mind. I think this, too, is the reason that so many poems seem so "incomplete" or like thoughts that had not been fully developed. I think sometimes the author is simply trying to share their soul (or a piece of it) onto paper, which is not always an easy task when words don't often live up to the task of saying what needs to be said. Sometimes the best you can come up with is a haiku.

    A single poem
    My soul drowning in life lived
    More than I can say

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  3. What I love about poetry, while finding most of it abhorrent, is that it is nothing more than pure emotion writ large. It's a snapshot of a moment in time with the corners cut. (as an amusing sidenote, Battlestar Gallactica, The Re-Imagining, literally cut the corners of their televised documents into eight-sided figures as a protest against the budget they were forced to work with) That unfinished thought is simply a refreshing dose of someone else's feeling with the niceties removed (or added depending on your perspective).

    Anywho, the existence of poetry is more a formulaic means of expressing that which cannot be expressed...

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  4. As always Travis I think we can agree and disagree simultaneously. I don't know what it is about poetry, but it almost always seems to come off as pretentious to me. Perhaps it is the "artsy-fartsy" nature of the author, or perhaps it is their lack of concern for my understanding of their expression, but who knows? All I know is that I can read some poetry and digs right into the very core of my soul as if it had been there all along and known every last thing inside my mind. I think this, too, is the reason that so many poems seem so "incomplete" or like thoughts that had not been fully developed. I think sometimes the author is simply trying to share their soul (or a piece of it) onto paper, which is not always an easy task when words don't often live up to the task of saying what needs to be said. Sometimes the best you can come up with is a haiku.

    A single poem
    My soul drowning in life lived
    More than I can say

    ReplyDelete