Poetic words, Poetic forms

So if all writers, novelist and poets, use imagery and metaphor and similes, if we all write with the intent to write beautiful language, is it merely the form that makes a poem a poem?

This is the thought I take with me to ponder in my dreams.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010|Categories: Random|Tags: |6 Comments

What does it mean to be a poet?

In keeping with finally claiming my poet’s hat, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a poet. I’m going to try and spend a few days thinking out loud about this idea and I hope you’ll think along with me.

On one hand I think that being a poet is as simple as what makes a writer: a writer writes and a poet writes poems. But on the other hand I know it is much more complicated than that. I think it’s a way of looking at the world around you as well as a way of recording what you see. And it is, of course, how you choose to record it. There are many aspects of being a poet but today I’m just thinking of one side of it all, slowing down so you can pay attention.

I think to be a poet you need to be willing to sit still and be. Later you can sit still and think and ponder one word over the other but there needs to be a willingness to just sit and be. And I have trouble with that. I always feel like I need to be racing off to do one thing or another (because I usually do need to be heading off to do one thing or the other) and I short-cut my way through too much of my life.

When I wrote my father poems last April for National Poetry Month I didn’t try to do them in the middle of my busy day. I did them at night, the last thing before bed. My brain was full and tired. I sat on the couch, my laptop on my lap, and thought back over my childhood, forcing myself to remember as much as I could. Then I would pick an age and a scene and I just wrote. The poems came quickly, probably because they have been festering all my life. But I also think it was because I spent some quiet time before trying to write, time where I let myself just be.

If this is what I need to be a poet why is it so hard to give that gift of quiet time to myself?

I don’t know the answer to that. But perhaps, like the acceptance of myself as a poet, it is enough for me to know that is something I need. That it is part of my job description. The trick, I suppose, is how to find those quiet times in the midst of our crazy days.

So what about you? What does it mean to you to be a poet (whether or not you are one?)

Monday, October 18, 2010|Categories: Writing Life|Tags: , |4 Comments