Mar. 22nd, 2016

liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
Apparently it's world poetry day, which I didn't know until I started seeing lots of cool poems on my reading page. I particularly loved (though I don't fully understand it) this Auden quoted by [personal profile] kalypso: In praise of limestone

I feel like I ought to be the kind of person who would immediately think of a poem to put here when I belated discovered that somewhere in the nation of internet we're celebrating poetry. But I'm not really, I'm not immersed in poetry to that extent. Like, I have some favourite poems, but they're mostly really obvious dead white men ones that I studied in school, or more often that my Dad learned in school, when the curriculum was even more heavily slanted towards the obvious Romantics. I mean, I love Kipling and Housman and Auden, but who doesn't, from my sort of background? And even with poets I claim to love, I often only know their most obvious pieces, the ones that get quoted in books like 'the nation's hundred favourite poems' and used as markers of having the right sort of education. And my poetry books are in Keele, not here, but I could probably find something in one of [personal profile] jack's anthologies, my tastes are obvious enough.

My brother [twitter.com profile] angrysampoet posted a really thinky blog post recently, which is about lots of different things, including how he's managed to transcend just liking the obvious things that everybody with our kind of upbringing likes, and become a professional poet who's very much involved in the contemporary poetry scene: Slam poetry is a genre. I disagree with him about some points, particularly where he falls into the lazy reflex of blaming social media for the ills of our generation, but there's a lot to think about in his piece.

Particularly: People who write poems once or twice in their life for someone’s birthday or Valentine’s Day will write in cliché. And yeah, that's kind of me, I've written more than two poems in my life but not a lot more, and most of what I write is cliché because I don't write – or read – enough. It's not that I have ambitions to be a professional poet like my brother, it's that what he's saying fits into stuff I've thinking about to do with making creative stuff more accessible to people who just want to do it for fun (shout-out to [personal profile] merrythebard who's been talking interestingly about this topic elsewhere). I want to do more creating, not because I want to compete and be the best poet, or because I want to make money at it, but because creating stuff is satisfying and uplifting, and because when I do write poems for friends and lovers I'd like what I write to be a worthy gift and not just a thing they put up with because they like the gesture.

There are probably other creative things I could be doing more of, writing fiction as well as blog posts, possibly drawing. The other day Judith got me to join her in a drawing challenge, and I think I should follow her example of getting into the habit of just sketching things, not for any particular reason other than that it's fun.

But anyway, I wanted to say I'm most grateful to people who post poetry, their own or other peoples', whether for World Poetry Day or any other reason. You're doing a good thing by making poetry something that 'normal' people can enjoy, without proving a point about talent or social status or anything else.

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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