Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm a Poet and I Just Know That I Am

poetry?  I'm so torn about poetry.  I love poetic prose, but often poetry itself does nothing for me.  I can't say I dislike it (although I know many people who do say that) because I'm often inspired to write it.  Not very well, I'm sure.  But still.

Oh, and the length.  Once poems stretch beyond a couple of dozen lines I drift off and lose concentration.  Somehow, when reading a novel I have great focus and introspection, but in poems I much prefer something that doesn't need dissecting.  Something with wit.  These are the kind of poems I write:

Haiku for the Errant Turn Signal
Ever blinking light
Falsely suggesting intent
Unaware driver

opening eyes
freshly ground
flaming hot
energy burst
everything is beautiful

Expectations, unreasonable, unseasonable
Balking, pouting, sore.
Excursions, endurable, interminable
Waiting, sitting, bored.

So, would it make sense to say that I love the poetry of language, but don't love the language of poetry?  

I feel like I'm reading poetry all the time, yet I don't know that I have a favorite.  They just don't stick in my head like full-length works.  I did love this one, though, by Willa Cather (in her only published collection of poetry) titled L'ENVOI

Where are the loves that we had loved before
When once we are alone, and shut the door?
No matter whose the arms that held me fast,
The arms of Darkness hold me at the last.
No matter down what primrose path I tend,
I kiss the lips of Silence in the end.
No matter on what heart I found delight,
I come again unto the breast of Night.
No matter when or how love did befall,
'Tis Loneliness that loves me best of all,
And in the end she claims me, and I know
That she will stay, though all the rest may go.
No matter whose the eyes that I would keep
Near in the dark, 'tis in the eyes of Sleep
That I must look and look forever more,
When once I am alone, and shut the door.

But see how it's all depressing?  Where are the witty poets? Not funny, slapstick, silly, har-har stuff...I want something clever, like Bite Size Jane Austen.  That's what I want.  Any suggestions for me?

(Thanks to The Blue Bookcase for supplying great topics for literary conversation!)


  1. great post-I like Whitman for his sheer power, Yeats for his beauty and wisdom and Auden for his tragic wisdom

  2. enjoyed, even if I didn't agree with your answer. for a some poets that use humour in their work try this

  3. Being a poet, I can’t imagine my life without poetry. I live and breath it. I have loved to read a lot of poets and poetry over the years and still find something new every day.

    Here is my Literary Blog Hop post!

  4. I love the first three you wrote for us. Haiku is such a great poem form, and we always do acrostic with the children because it's fairly easy to write. I have to admit to not being such a huge fan of poetry (depressing? maybe; difficult to understand? usually, for me) but this hop is opening my eyes to new poems which I quite like.

  5. Mmmm I loved that Willa Cather poem! I had no idea she wrote poetry. I love poetry but only in small doses - I try to just read one poem a day.

  6. You might like Dorothy Parker if you want some quick, witty poetry.

    I love that coffee poem by the way. I want an ode to coffee mug

  7. I personally don't like long poems either ,I can understand loving the poetry of language very insightful post. I stopped by to tell you won The Versatile Blogger Award. Congradulations

  8. mel u--I love how you just condensed those poets into the essence of what moves you. I want to like poetry...I keep reading it and looking for more...but so far haven't found much I love.

    parrish lantern--thanks for the link. I actually really liked all the poems you posted. Maybe I've been looking for poems in all the wrong places. :)

    guatami tripathy--precisely the reason I keep reading it...hearing people like you that love it/live it. I want to find some that really speaks to me.

    Bellezza--this hop is helping me discover some stuff that is changing my mind about poetry. Maybe I always considered poetry to be the classic stuff, and stopped looking for other options? I'm having fun with everyone's suggestions.

  9. L.L.--I love that poem too, although Cather apparently didn't think too highly of her poetry skills. I read poetry to my kiddos every day, maybe I should read some for myself too.

    Red--thanks for the recommendation! An ode to coffee mug, what a fun idea! I might have to look into that. :)

    bookaddict4real--I always feel bad that I don't like long poems, like it's a taste I should acquire. But I really do enjoy the small ones better. Thank you for the award! I go by your blog and check out your post.

  10. Hi Melody, your haiku tickled me! Here is one suggestion for a poet you might like: Dorothy Parker, known for her sarcasm and wicked wit. And if you like that Cather poem, you might try Edna St. Vincent Millay--she also has a tiny caustic streak. Can't help myself, this is the teacher in me;)

  11. I too prefer shorter poems but love long prose. I love your haiku - so true!

  12. I like Haiku. It is a fun, enjoyable form of poetry.

  13. I read more poetry than any other form. I love the short and condensed thoughts. I read fast so I love it that poetry makes me slow down.

    Here is a guaranteed winner for you: Billy Collins. He's brilliant and thoughtful and hilarious. (Sometimes he looks a little long, but, trust me, he's worth it!)

    And Shel Silverstein. Fantastic.

    Here's my post:

  14. I'm the same as you, I find it difficult to read long poems.
    I have been to a few poetry readings and enjoyed them though. I think I enjoyed watching the expression of the poet, but then you miss the visual aspect of poetry, which is sometimes an integral part of the poem...

  15. "I love the poetry of language, but don't love the language of poetry? "

    This makes perfect sense to me!

  16. bibliophiliac--I'm loving the personalized suggestions, it makes me much more eager to dive into a new experience. Thank you!

    Jennifer--I think after a certain length I tire of the level of focus required...there are some that are lyrical enough that they keep me engaged, but not very often.

    Rachel--I enjoy it too. There is something appealing about the challenge of putting a whole thought into a few structured lines.

  17. readerbuzz--Billy Collins looks fabulous, thank you! We read a lot of children's poetry around here, LOVE Shel Silverstein. Another favorite children's book of poetry is The Llama Who Had No Pajama.

    Em--the new independent book store near my house has had a few poetry readings, maybe I should go check it out some time. Listening to something read aloud is always a lot of work for me (I absorb it much better if I can see it) but poetry may be one of those things that is worth it.

    JoAnn--I'm glad that made sense! This hop may be changing my mind, though...lots of poets out there that I hadn't heard of!

  18. Hi Melody, been thinking about poetry & humour, then remembered this from a little book of poems called POMES by Jack Kerouac


    Old hornet me

    would woo thee

    fair, soft Sara

    of the flowers;

    But bee's not kind

    That seeks to find,

    peers too deep

    shares no sleep;

    And anyway'
    who woos bees

    It,s such a sweet humorous poem, that it just makes me smile, it's like a ray of the sun, reflecting off an old ring pull, pretty but inappropriate

  19. I love how you've handed out poems across the hop. Makes it less like a blog hop and more like a poem party. Thank you!

  20. I love your poems. Poetry requires such careful choice and appreciation of every single word--I think that's why I liked it more when I was younger and didn't feel so pressed for time. (Which may also be why I agree with you about prefering short poems!)

  21. I know, it's more difficult to absorb what you hear, but then, it's also a question of practice. I think it can work quite well for (some) poetry. It all depends on the skills of the reader as well.


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