Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

If Poetry Is Dead, So Am I . . .


This post is about poetry but I need to get to that subject by asking you to take notice of my on-going survey to discover what You  want to see on this blog.

So far, there are 76 votes and the top selection is a desire to know more about my writing life.

I’m extremely certain (but would be fascinated to be proven wrong) that the top response will change when more folks vote

My writing life, right now, is full of blogging four days a week, writing a new Fantasy Short Story every Friday, editing about 40 posts from Behind The Scenes into an expansion of my short novel, Notes from An Alien (still Free), and preparing to write a second book of poetry ( the first book of poetry is also free :-)

Oh! I also pen some verse every Monday to read at the Poetry Slam at Raglan Shire in the virtual world Second Life

While there are pundits who brazenly attempt to demonstrate that poetry is dead, there are plenty of articles defending the idea that poetry is very much alive

I only have 18 posts on this blog about poetry, a mere 2.2%.

Does such a low percentage mean I think it’s of lesser importance than my fiction?

Hell no—my second book of poetry will be a distillation of what I’ve managed to learn in my nearly seven decades of life in this body that’s driven by a soul

The first proposed etymology of the word “soul” ends with “of uncertain origin”.

That uncertain origin of the word soul seems to hint at the purpose of poetry, which I could characterize as helping us discover those feelings and thoughts that seem to hover just far enough beyond our conscious minds that they can often feel like something we just don’t have time enough to consider seriously

Let me demonstrate with one of my poems:

In the beginning,
I rush towards
Reunion—my inner
Eye spies a
Gleam that
Dazzles into
Words that
Fall

Far short…

I wrote that poem about my attempts at writing poetry

What could that Reunion I seek be?

What is that Dazzling Gleam?

Why do the words feel like they fall short?

It’s been said that poetry is the form of writing that expresses the unexpressible

Perhaps another example would help:

Warping
Heat; opposing
Passions—space is time and
Time is lost.
Blood should flow and
Brains should shatter—
Heart is dead but beats in
Pain.

What are the passions producing such heat?

How could space be time and what made me lose time?

What’s with the figurative reference to blood and brains?

And that last line, Heart is dead but beats in Pain:

Ever felt your heart is dead?

Painful feeling, eh?

If you’re someone who loves poetry, my questions might be interesting

If you feel you can do without poetry in your life, those questions will, hopefully, encourage you to reconsider—perhaps explore a bit—familiarize yourself with the valuable attempt to express your unexpressibles

I’ll leave you with a poem by William Wordsworth, written in the early 1800s but, to me, powerfully applicable in our excessively materialistic culture:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

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