September 27: Thoughts for the Day

“Poetry became democratized,” the woman said, explaining to me her views of the development of poetry during the last two decades of the twentieth century.

“What I love about contemporary poetry is its multitude of voices,” she continued, citing formalist poetry, free verse, slam poetry, combined graphics & poetry, among others, as examples of the diversity of the genre.

She went on to admire the vastly expanded availability of poetry to the masses, courtesy of the internet, but then cautioned that “poetry should be read aloud.” Yes, it’s a double-edged sword, she conceded; the internet makes poetry more readily available, but it may diminish the recognition of the value of hearing, instead of simply reading, poetry.  Line breaks, stanza breaks, and other poetic devices need to be heard, she asserted.

“There is no mystery to writing poetry. The difference between poetry and other written work is that the poet has a love of both language and sound.

I listened to the voice on the phone and felt good about agreeing to write an article about her presentation to our group next month.

The conversation was interesting, thought-provoking, intriguing.  Poetry is not my favorite genre, not by a long shot, but I enjoy it.  I discovered today I enjoy talking (or hearing) about it almost as much.

Language.  That’s what it’s all about, language.   And language is about ideas.  And there you go.  That’s the thing.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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