I was discussing with someone last night how you might read something and think, yes, it is presented in lines, perhaps has a working metaphor; it might even be rhymed and metered. But in the end you think, “That wasn’t a poem.” I think this is a topic I’d like us to chat about in the background here as this National Poetry Month goes on. I have a lot more to say, and maybe you do too. I was reading in the old text book by Robert Wallace yesterday called Writing Poems, and in the notes on one of the chapters (forgive me, I’ll cite more specifically later) he poses the following question.
“Is this poetry or graffito?
Born a virgin.
Died a virgin.
Laid in her grave.”
I am curious how you would answer Mr. Wallace, but what about something like this that I wrote in the wee hours of the morning? Is it truly a poem? Or should my day nine submission of my poem a day thread be disqualified? You might argue that these are simply mixed up proverbs. I might counter argue that I took phrases we are familiar with and resequenced them in order to bring about something new, some different meaning, nonsense or maybe not nonsense at all. I might make such an argument, but what do you say? I am curious and would like to start a dialogue about what is or is not poetry. I do not expect us all to agree, but I think the state of the art in America might benefit from our consideration of the question.
Proverbial Reconfiguration Curiosity killed the early bird. A penny saved is worth two in the bush. There's more than one way to fight fire with fire. A watched pot gathers no moss. Too many cooks is the spice of life! God helps those who wait for nobody. Six of one, easy go. Every rose has its ways to skin a cat. Home is where you keep your enemies closer. All work and no play is a friend indeed. An apple a day, but you can't make him drink! Better safe than flock together. Beer before liquor, is thicker than water. And early to bed, but for the grace of God go I.
8 Comments Add yours
it was one of the wonderful post i’ve seen…
outstanding balance of stuffzz….
learnd a lot
Visit mine and plz plz plz post your comments…
Thank you…i’ll b in touch….
Thank you for your kind words! I am off to help my sons do some moving, but I’ll check out your stuff gladly.
I like to ‘experiment’… i think that is the fun and joy of reading different poetry, where people say, try this listen to it and see what you think. I have my dear friend, without your permission printed off all of the poems so far posted, so i can read them all again as a a volume on the flight across the pond to your side of the world…hope you don’t mind, I will be carefull of them…xoxox See you in NYC next week…xox
I don’t mind at all. I’m a day behind again though! ugh… so of course, these are not the finished drafts. I imagine some will disappear and some will be polished later. Can’t wait to see you!
This is quite good for many reasons.
In any case, something like this is better poetry than much of the 1-D solipsism that’s commonly portrayed as such. This is nice, as it cut’s into the modes of perennial common sense in a charming manner.
Thank you, Juan! I appreciate your comments.
Hi peeps….meant to say re the question posed by Mr Wallace…..it could be both!! I love the fun and succinctness of it and often have wee pieces like that, but you know haven’t commited them, because I question if they would be looked upon as cheating or not thinking/trying hard enough!! Foir me less is more in this particular piece and I would smile..and be a tad jealous if I saw it in a collection.x
I agree, Vince. I agree. Many have criticized the “Red Wheelbarrow” poem by William Carlos Williams for the same sort of reasons, but that one is more complex than it first appears. Still it’s a good example of a short but excellent work.