Old Moon

Friday, October 9, 2009

Diving In...

Some of my readers may be aspiring poets. Is that the same thing as wanting to write poetry? It's hard enough for me to say out loud, "I'm a writer." I can't imagine claiming to be a poet because I'm trying to write poetry.

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?

3 comments:

Glenda said...

Go for it, Joan. Let us see a poem on this blog. You are the person who takes risks and I'm sure your poetry is better than the work of many of us who claim to be poets.

Pat Workman said...

Well this is third time I have come here to respond to your post. Each time I sit down at the computer, I am interrupted--which means all thought leaves my head and i am pulled away on separate missions. Anyway, I am back for the moment.

I agree with Glenda, Joan. Go for it!!

I consider myself a poet because I dare (have the rambunctious audacity) to write poetry. True, it's not everyone's cup of tea—so what. My writing ability is limited at best and always has been. For sure, no one will ever see my poems in any Literary Journal. That doesn't mean I (and millions of other self-published, un-published, un-sung poets) are not poets. Knowing, full well, I lack the genius and skill required, I still enjoy trying.

JLC said...

Okay, you two. I'll give it a coward's try because now I've made it impossible for you to ignore me. Of course, now you're in the unenviable position of either being being brutally frank, or trying to offer constructive criticism. Both are acceptable. Thanks for reading--as always.