January 28, 2014

A Puzzlement


Recently, I was catching up on a backlog of reading blog posts from blogs I follow and the blogs of my own followers, when something I saw piqued my interest and gave me a whole new respect for the bravery of the blogger in question. She not only maintains her regular book blog, but also has a poetry blog, where she routinely posts her latest efforts in that genre. As I said, I stand in awe of her courage.

There's something about revealing my poetry that makes me feel particularly naked and vulnerable. Perhaps it is partly based on the length of the average poem; these aren't full-length novels, in which readers may find both aspects that seem implausible or annoying, but still some redeeming qualities that they enjoy and therefore save the work in their estimation. Most poems are short (despite what T.S. Eliot believed to the contrary), and fly or die with the first reading or two. People don't take a week to read and consider a poem, like they would a novel or non-fiction book. Feedback is usually instantaneous, and either glowing or brutal. It's just the nature of the genre.

Still, it's more than just that. If you've ever thought that I am profoundly forthright in my blog, that I do not pull punches even at times when maybe I should've done, and that I sometimes discuss topics best kept out of the public eye, then you really should read my poetry. You would then KNOW that all the above are true of me. For me, poems come from a place so intensely personal and emotions so overwhelming that prose simply will not do to convey them. Life has to be so sublime that I cannot contain it, i.e. I basically have to be in love, or so unbearable that I have to trap the pain outside my body, in order for me to write a poem. I hadn't written much in several years, until my pain and subsequent surgeries last year, and I found myself returning to it again over the summer months of 2013. The poems have been flowing freely lately, and I would love to share them out into the blogosphere, but I cannot decide if I'm that brave. Still, writers write to be read; it is our "precious life blood," to use John Milton's phrase, and unread work gnaws at my brain like a dollar burns a hole in a 5-year-old's pocket.

" 'Tis a puzzlement."

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