Thursday, November 13, 2003

There is still poetry

I love poetry (have I mentioned this before?). No, really, I actually own books of poetry that I have read more than once. When I was young and owning much less shame, I wrote poetry. I even PUBLISHED a few poems. One of them earned me $10 (which is a lot better than most poets manage). However, the more I learned about poetry, the less poetry I wrote, until I reached the point of being unable to write anything I could show to anyone else without a sharp stab of shame.

So I'm really loving Things I Hate (and/or Love) because the guy has not only put poetry in his weblog, but he can talk about it intelligently. Gotta love that.

Last week I went to my writer's group meeting. A new member wanted to have some of his poetry critiqued. For a moment, the ghost of Dorothy Parker (for whom I have a certain fondness) reared and threatened, but I gave her some gin and a cigarette and she went off to walk her dogs. Then I listened to him read and, in a moment I can only describe as my first out-of-body experience, l started talking about poetry as if I knew jack-shit about it!

Apparently I was quite impressive, because he wanted to read another poem. Now, I know I wasn't being effusive or enthusiastic (Dorothy might have been out walking, but she burps some vitriol now and again). And I didn't really *like* his poetry. Too political, relied hard on literary allusion, and occasionally was deliberately obscure. I didn't *hate* it, though. Some of the pictures he created were really specific and clear and layered with meaning, every word pulling it weight. (See? See how convincing I sound?)

After three of his poems were dissected, the girl who works at the bookstore (a casual friend) asked if she could read HER poem to us. Now, Bookstore Girl is a definite product of Southern Culture in the modern day. She's beautiful, she's smart, she doesn't have a heavy accent, and she's going through college a little later than her peers, so she's getting much more out of it. In any case, she reads her poem, Dorothy burps again, and I'm holding forth on the abstract versus the concrete. She gets a few comments from other group members, including the other poet-of-the-night, but they are yielding the floor to me and I'm wondering who exactly I'm channeling here. It was a real Shirley MacClaine sort of evening.

Anyway, go read Gwydion (don'tcha love that name? I think it's a Welsh variation on Gideon, or it's completely unpronounceable, but it's sooo...poetic. You can almost see the blousey white shirt with the ruffles down the front, can't you?) No, really, go read. It won't hurt.

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