Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Read Poetry Today

And it was not Shel Silverstein, who once famously said, "I don't explain my head." I like that. If I'm ever famous and someone asks me anything at all about my head, I'm going to say the same thing.

No, I read real poems, the kind that have oddly placed line breaks and are hard to interpret. I'm sure you're wondering why I, who sees himself as a sort of everyman and who would much rather read a poem about farts than, say, one about the morning dew, would bother to read real poetry.

I would like to say that I did so to stretch myself or to make me feel more sophisticated. I would like to claim that I did so to experience the imagery and use of language that moves the soul. I wouldn't even mind admitting that I did so because I want to be able to impress people. (Although none of the people I run with would be all that impressed, frankly.)

But the reason I read poetry today is because I'm always jealous of those writers who start their novels with a line from a poem, or title their books with something from a poem, or, like Stephen King's Dark Tower series, use a poem as inspiration for a novel (or series of novels.) Jacqueline Woodson's Feathers comes to mind.

I think it'd be kind of cool to do that someday, so I read a bunch of poems and wrote down cool lines and phrases and whatnot. I ended up with about eight pages of stuff, my favorite of which is the following two lines from Anne Bradstreet's "The Author to Her Book."

Anne refers to her work as Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain, which is pretty much how I feel about everything I write. It's never perfect and it never will be. Usually, I think it sorta sucks.

And she nails the editing process with:

I washed thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.


So...impressed?

8 comments:

Monica said...

very impressed, PMM. I believe that you've inspired me to read that poet.

Jacqui said...

I'm inspired too. Feeble brain, indeed...

Anita said...

I am of the minority who does NOT like poetry at the beginning of books. It's overused, I think. But, then, who am I?

Tina Lee said...

I'm impressed. Thanks for the Bradstreet. I oft feel the same way about my work. It's nice to not be alone in it.

Adam said...

I'll stick with Silverstein personally. The only poet worth reading.

DebraLSchubert said...

Wow. Those two lines speak volumes and express my relationship to editing to a tee. Thanks for sharing.;-)

Word ver: culty - is that what we writers are???

Indigo said...

You did great hon. One of my favorite lines (I actually used this on my profile) was:

"I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living." Anne Morrow Lindbergh

To me it describes writing. It's everything we are and more. (Hugs)Indigo

mclicious said...

Oooh, I haven't read that poem of hers. Sounds good. I've been trying to read a couple of pages of poetry every week, just to make sure I've read a bit of everything. :-)