April is National Poetry month
I was about 10 years old when I first took an interest in writing. I still have the book of Shakespeare my father gave me back then in all it’s tattered and yellow-paged glory. It was then I started writing little snippets of poetry and stuffing them away in my journal. I still have some of them. They are worthy of a good chuckle every now and then, when I need one.
Why write poetry you ask? For me it is a superior way to dust off the words in my heart and make some sense out of my feelings. Truth is often hard to say, even harder to say to the person you would like to say it to. Poetry is a way to break all constraints in life and put your courage on the page, many times without repercussions and/or consequence. Poetry then, is not mere fancy, but an attempt to dust off those words and tell a story in a full and authentic manner.
It is my opinion that meaningful poetry needs to be underwritten by experience.That’s why I write most of my poetry based on the experiences in my life. On the home page of my poetry web site I make the following introductory statement that speaks to this:
“My writing is not imagined without connection to my life.
My life and my writing are the same thing.
To betray the gap between the two
would be to compromise the soul of the words…
Profoundly repressing the integrity of their meaning”.
However different we may be from other people all over the world, in constructing our own world of thought, insight and artistic creation, we are very much alike. I have found this to be true in the responses I get to my poetry. In a broader sense, the history of art is a search for purpose in an increasingly strange and hostile universe. I try to write my poetry so that others can understand what I’m saying, no matter how simple it may look or sound. I want others to possibly relate to it, take something away with them from it.
And what of the pitfalls of the Poetry genre? Well, let’s face it…poets are the minority of the publishing kingdom. I think that poetry has the potential to provide a deep insight into all forms of writing and develop into an informed love for all types of literature. Once I heard a literary critic say, “poetry is not a gift, it’s an illness”. I always thought that was pretty funny. Secondly, poetry does not usually sell very well. And, poetry is not easy. The medium is a compact one, needing great concentration to read, and even more to write. First attempts are usually not very good. Re-writes usually end up in the waste-basket. It’s terribly frustrating to lose an entire “good thought” poem because you can’t get to the paper fast enough to get it down. Many of those dusted off words never make it to the page. Unlike a book….it’s fleeting and the thought escapes in a heartbeat.
However, there is good news…even the most pedestrian effort often lifts someone into a vivid memorable experience, and kindles a response in a reader. That, and that alone is worth a huge deal to the poet in spite of the pitfalls associated with the genre we call poetry.
Dusted Off Words
These dusted off words lie in wait for the placing,
They fell through a hole in my heart long ago
I can find no path from the floor to the paper,
I’m afraid their journey from here will be slow.
Recycled memories are still ripe for the taking,
To twist, turn and re-shape into poems and prose,
But that’s now a journey they’ve grown weary of making,
Words tire on a path that everyone knows.
So what to do with these dusted off words,
As they lie in wait for the placing?
Just shove them back through that hole in my heart
To await the slow death they are facing….
© DiAnne Ebejer
Some of my many favorite poets:
Happy National Poetry Month!