Monday, September 15, 2008

Easing into Difficulty

I have enjoyed poetry since I was a kid. I love the play-on-words, the imagery, the way the language rolls around my tongue, the thought-provoking metaphors, the challenge of interpretation and the constant challenge to myself to write better and communicate more with less.

I am fully aware not everyone shares my view. In fact, I would say only a small percentage of my closest friends have even seen my site, and I have not doubt that the warning of the site being "poetry related" was the deal breaker. Thanks, friends, for your honesty. Consistently, the two top reasons why people don't enjoy poetry is that it is boring and it is difficult to understand.

The late Reginald Shepherd addressed some of these issues "On Difficulty in Poetry", which in memorial of his recent death was posted on the blog Nothing to Say and Saying It. It's a long article, and I wouldn't expect someone who doesn't take the time to read a poem to read this lengthy page. But - it's worth a read. (in fact, I would recommend any of his writing).

Granted, some poems are long, boring, alot of words about nothing in particular. My own poetry, for example, is not stellar - I'll admit it. But there are so many others out there that are incredible, that can shake you to your core, that bring you to a place you've never seen with your eyes, to crawl into your head and whisper the very thing that you think no one else experiences. In our age of blogs and the internet, DVRs, text messaging, social networking sites and so on, we have managed to zip ourselves through life without taking a more thoughtful approach at times. We devote more time to mindless entertainment like American Idol than to cerebral reading.I'm guilty of it, too. That's just the world we live in...or that we've created for ourselves. It doesn't have to be that way.

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