THE WAY OF POETRY
SO I am a male. But I am a poet. So I have advice for males wishing to be a poet. So you want to be a poet? Really? Why? What you may want to be is popular, thought clever, sexy, but what you could really be thought of is emo, self-centered, weak, or gay… because in Western society, society expects men to keep their emotions inside. So you will offer readers of your work a chance to judge you, for simply being what you are. But do not worry. If you are a poet, you’ll know.
“A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses.” Jean Cocteau
It will show. You don’t set out to be a poet, being a poet expresses itself in your life, in your writing in your work. I kept trying to be an historian. I took many classes, I had a high IQ so I was told I should be a scholar, but my writing was never scholarly. I lived between three worlds at that time. I lived in and worked in the world of the scholar in academia who tries to think rationally. I lived in the real world, where people try to earn money and be happy or buy stuff or be horny. And I lived in the world between them, where I observed everything as an outsider, and recorded it, for no reason but for the fact, that I was a poet.
“A poet's autobiography is his poetry. Anything else is just a footnote.” Yevgeny Yevtushenko
So if you are trying to be a poet, it might be a sign that you are a writer trying too hard to write poetry, because a poet bubbles with poetry. It just happens, it is a natural reaction to what you are seeing around you, what you are experiencing, who you are and who the world is around you. I am not saying you are not a poet if, or you are a poet if you… I am saying you know if you are a poet. That is all.
“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.” Leonard Cohen
What? You still want to be a poet? Well then you need to understand that rather than vomiting out your emotions onto the page like people think a poet does, you need to channel your feelings into your words, and use precision to make those words powerful, instead a splattered shot of shotgun of words.
“Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.” T.S. Eliot
This is all said in love and hope that anyone wanting to become a poet will understand that being one, is 1) not easy, 2) not for everyone, 3) not something you just decided to do, and 4) maybe less for you than might otherwise have thought. But if you do choose to become a poet, I wish you good poetry, and a great life to feed your words.
Remember up there a bit, where I said I was in academia? Yes I was. I received college degrees and taught in university. But, I didn’t like it. You see, I don’t have an interest in making you understand, and, I do not have a stake in your understanding of what I am saying. However, I have a very great interest in exposing you to events and ideas that I consider important. Teaching history and political science in college and humanities to younger students was rewarding, somewhat, but, for me, it was a lot of energy devoted to teaching ideas and facts that people didn’t care about. I preferred to rather wrap ideas in words, and events in fascinating details, to encourage people to read further. Teaching is great, and I admire those who do it, but for me, my patience for doing so was very limited, and my interest, well it was far lower than my patience. So I teach now but in my own way, I try to entertain while exposing people to information that is important.
God bless me, for I might have sinned. But I will keep trying.
The pic is my own creation using two Public Domain images.
Time flows but not like a river
Inexorable but without aim
Simply filling every emptiness
It sweeps forward, backward
Inside and outside
Time is without our consent
Scrolls and tablets
Remember what men forget
Regrets and torments
of the killer torrents
Of the lost age
Of the lost wisdoms
Imagine the sorrows
Of a world erased
The water flows
The deluge grows
As their world
And time continues
By Alex Ness.
For more of Mr. Ness's work you can find him at the following links: