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.