Me, spilling out all my thoughts, inner and outer, on just about anything! Lots of poetry, short stories from past experiences, anecdotes about teaching elementary school, music, relationships....garage sale type thing...Something For Everyone!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Poet Laureate's View

I remember this interview with USA’s Poet Laureate, Billy Collins shortly after 9/11 and was so captivated by his statements that I scrambled for a pencil and paper to mark some of it down. He even phrased his answers so beautifully; it was no wonder to me that they had selected this sensitive man to the post. His thoughts provoked me to reflect on my relationship with written words.
I have summarized the views and descriptions that I loved the best.

Poetry is first of all, prose avoidance. A single line is a unit in poetry; we always go back to the margin before we give another line life.
Poetry is the history and education of our heart. It gives form and reason to life. This special form of writing expresses gratitude for the moment for the sheer fact of its existence, and we have to "mine the moment". It is observing what is going on around us in careful ways, but it is also an expressive outlet for your inner life.
I could relate to all of this so well, as anyone who has really taken time to read my poetry would recognize. It is certainly a way to put form to the strong feelings that dwell within my heart.

And if one has "committed their first act of poetry" at an early age, as I have, then it indeed serves as your heart’s history. We all have special Kodak moments that we keep indelibly etched in our minds and for me, each one is undoubtedly the stimulus for many poems.

When Billy was interviewed, shortly after 9/11, he was asked whether he thought that moment should be immortalized by poetry. His response was quite interesting. He felt that there was no need to describe it in verse or prose. We had seen the graphic image of the Twin Towers so often that it was an ocular burn on our retina for life. I couldn’t agree more. ut Billy also felt that it was needed at times like that to give a sense of the three C’s: "To Cope, Conquer, and Carry On." Poetry in his opinion, is the "social glue that holds us together".

I love the way he worded this idea.

And to conclude, Billy Collins said, "poetry speaks best when it’s personal but also when it speaks for the collective". This all makes so much sense to me. Poetry, written by one single person, whatever the stimulus for writing it, then becomes universal, uniting us all.

We can all be "Poet Laureates".

Mother of Invention, pen and paper always at the ready!


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