Is a "poet" a slightly different breed from an ordinary writer? At least three of you who might read this are actually poets. Now that I've read most of a scholarly article in The Boston Review about Yeats, I wonder if I may be losing my ability to differentiate between reality and wishful thinking. What in the world, other than a perceived need to find a different approach to getting communication (and let's admit it, self expression) onto a page, is the difference between an author of good prose and a poet?
Though my first love is fiction, I find myself writing more and more essays in the past two years, and find to my surprise how much easier it seems than finding ways to offer IMPLICATIONS as both poetry and fiction must do. The unrivaled wealth of English as a language almost demands that its lovers take dangerous leaps into its possibilities. Should we be trying to make exclusive choices about how to go about this?
I used to love to dive, but could never muster the courage for a back dive or the skill for a gainer. I'd be able to choose between an ordinary running forward, a swan, or a jackknife, though. Somehow it seems as if the last might be the way to approach the depths of poetry. What tends to hold me back is the possibility that the reader might think I was just showing off. Maybe the good old cannonball is all we need?