Oddments

In search of story


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On writing: April 26.18

Well, dear reader, here it is Poem-In-Your-Pocket Day, and I have nothing for my pocket and nothing for yours. This year has been the first in several when I haven’t cared a lot about Poetry Month. It’s been one of those writer’s slumps which maybe you understand.

I can’t even figure out what poetry is, and am nearing the conclusion that poetry is such a subjective thing that there must be a different definition for each of us.

I often meet something called a poem but to me it seems like prose. Why is it a poem?

I try to use rhyme in my poems — if such they are — because I like the discipline imposed by rhyme. (I admit I also like the entertainment — trying to rhyme can be hilarious.) But I know that rhyme doth not a poem make.

I have read that the root of “poem” is a word meaning “to make.” That suggests that a poem is something deliberately crafted. I have heard that poetry is acoustic, that the sound of the words is part of its essence. I have heard that poetry captures a moment. But have you ever read Mark Twain’s descriptions of the Mississippi River? If those aren’t crafted and acoustic and immediate, nothing is. Yet they aren’t considered poetry.

Someone told me that if you think you’re a poet then you’re a poet. Really? That’s all there is to it?

So it all seems a bit ambiguous to me. I’d rather it weren’t.

Maybe I’m trying to define the undefinable. Maybe you get that, dear reader, and so I hope you have a poem for your pocket even if it isn’t from me.