Sunday, April 24, 2005

Poetry in Metamorphosis

There are certain movements in poetry these days, as, I suppose, there have always been movements. Once upon a time those movements were rebellions against things like, oh, I dunno, Iambic Pentameter in sonnets. Somewhere along the line there was a movement against rhyme - thank you jesus - and apparently now there seems to be a movement agains clarity. They call it "Experimental Poetry" it's a bit of an offshoot of metaphysicism I think. It's all very intellectual, and honestly, normally over my head. Seems to be over a lot of people's heads, and many people use that as an opportunity to write poetry that uses all the right words and means absolutely nothing - and call themselves good, because the masses can't decipher what the hell they're even talking about.

I have recently been speaking to a fellow named Ryan, who writes this type of poetry. I tended to dismiss it, avoid it - until I came across one that he wrote that almost made sense to me, somewhere in the recesses of my subconscious. It was this nagging tickle in the back of my brain, and I couldn't rinse it down or wretch it up.

Now see, don't misunderstand me - some people manage this style quite successfully, and even when you don't 'get' each word or line, they leave you with an impression you can't deny. This seemed to be one of those - but I was too in-the-box to get it. He emailed me and we talked a bit and he showed me another of these experimental/metaphysical pieces that someone else had written.

It was really quite amazing, the vague aha without the true comprehension - I was still trying to define the poem by looking at each of its parts/lines/words. He used her poem, his interpretation, and her reaction to his interpretation to tutor me, though he says that was not his intention. I, in the span of a few hours, learned a new respect for what these folks do, how they create - in a world where every nuance, every space vs. dash vs. accent matters in the overall meaning.

Now I don't want to write like these people. I like knowing that I write and people understand me. Accessibility is important in my creative process - but I' certainly like to learn to think like them. Unfortunately, I don't think it's something that can be taught, I think it is an in-born trait, as Ryan said, "hard-wired."


  1. E- good point, I think you're right about it being hard wired, it's very touch for me to always get but I'm so drawn to it for some reason, like I'm on a cusp between be able to write that way and not and more often not-- if I did, it would probably only be copy-catish and I might not know what I was talking about, much less anyone else!

  2. oh, and read Dean Young.

  3. I'll add him to my list ;)