Monday, August 8, 2011

Poems and Promises

I've been thinking lately about a series of poetic phrases like roads diverging in a wood (Frost), and what really does happen to a dream deferred (Hughes), and basically all the things creative people try to say with poetry because it can't really be expressed any other way.

I'm thinking about this because sometimes, like today, I get the desire to sit down and write something brief and meaningful and expressive and lasting--which is exactly the way I'd describe the poetry I most enjoy. Sometimes I want to break from the forms that I'm used to--novels, essays, blog posts--and attempt something bite-sized, based on a feeling or idea that doesn't need to be explored in the course of three hundred pages, or maybe even three hundred words.

But I'm not a poet, strictly speaking. I've written the odd poem, sure, as I suspect most people have at some point. Let's say, then, that "Poet" is a label I'm uncomfortable with, because my relationship with poetry (both as reader and writer) is awkward at best, and not something I really aspire to improve.

Every other year or so, I promise myself I'm going to try harder with poetry, reading more of it, writing more of it, and being more open to it in general. These efforts are always short-lived, but I suppose I do dabble successfully. So, should I call myself a poet? When do you cross the line between having done something, and allowing it to become part of what defines you?

Given my current mood, I think I'll try calling myself a poet...but probably only for today.

Do you enjoy reading or writing poetry?

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