Take Your Poetic License Out For a Spin

Poetry by César Viteri Ramirez (CC BY-NC-SA)

Poetry by César Viteri Ramirez (CC BY-NC-SA)

Poetry bypasses rational thought and goes straight to the limbic system and lights it up like a brushfire. It’s the crack cocaine of the literary world.
―Jasper Fforde
Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone. ―Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Poetry = Anger x Imagination ―Sherman Alexie
Poetry is what gets lost in translation.
―Robert Frost

 

Dead white men’s dusty couplets have scared off many would-be poetry-lovers. April is National Poetry Month, so let’s dispel the rumors that poetry is about dead language and forced rhyme. Poetry is about rousing imagery. It’s stimulating conversation in any language―nature, art, behavior, or speech.

But you can’t nod and smile your way through this conversation; you have to pay attention. We usually talk a lot and say so little. Tweets are short and sweet, but easily consumed and forgotten. Good poetry is like elvish way bread: it takes more effort to swallow but nourishes you for a long time.

Poems paint complex pictures with sparse, loaded language and unexpected combinations of imagery. Poetry can be intimidating because it’s cryptic. But all language is cryptic―you’re just so used to translating everyday conversation that you don’t realize you’re doing it on the fly. Why is a raven like a writing desk? There’s no wrong answer―just interpretations.

Poetry is a parachute: dense, carefully packed, and awaiting deployment. It’s designed to slow you down, hold you aloft, and ease hard landings. But only jumpers enjoy the rush of this ride (which can look scary and pointless to those left on the ground), so hurdle your dread or impatience and get ready for a new perspective. Whether it’s fresh lyrics or found art, poetry lives in unexpected juxtapositions―which you can find everywhere you look.

2 Comments:

  1. I loved your reference to poetry as a parachute. “Poetry is a parachute: dense, carefully packed, and awaiting deployment. It’s designed to slow you down, hold you aloft, and ease hard landings.” What vivid imagery and such an apt description!!

What do you think?