Poetry is the most difficult art.
Every other art allows adequacy: the readable but forgettable prose, the landscape painting that is pleasing without being original or brilliant, the pot thrown with a modicum of skill.
Not poetry. A poem is either good or it is crap, and most often the erstwhile poet is the last to know.
I wrote poetry a lot when I was young, mostly in a sort of ecstatic utterance. I never rewrote or edited. How it came out is how it remained. I was too close to it to know if it was brilliant or crap, though it all felt brilliant when I was writing it. When I look at it now it is clear that most of it was the latter, with but a few keepers.
I have recently begun writing poetry again, after about twenty years. Most of it is of the ‘ecstatic utterance’ persuasion, love poems to my bride, but I have been working on one poem lately, rewriting, trying to get it just right.
This is new, poetry as a process instead of an outburst. When I have finished -I am having trouble with the ending- I will post it here. I am also posting it on my so-called secret blog, the one with my name in the web address. That, I have decided, will be a place for poetry and memoirs, and anything too personal will just remain a draft, unpublished. I will post a link to that site when I post the poem.
I sincerely desire feedback, honest feedback, on my effort.
If you have ever asked me to read and critique something you have written you know that I will be honest. I will not flatter you but offer what I think about it.
I can’t tell you how many feelings I have hurt by doing this. Most often after I return an edited manuscript I never hear from the writer again.
So I can take it. And if you think I should stick to prose please tell me.
Poem to follow…
Painting by Paul Ranson