With kind permission, I am reblogging this cut and paste reply to a comment on a poem written by Marie Marshall’s on her page http://kvennarad.wordpress.com/ Permission to cut and paste was granted to me over a month ago but due to WordPress.com changes, I only found it today! (Grrrr wp.com) Thanks, Marie, your writing and mind in motion always engage me, so much said in so few words. When I grow up, I want to write just like you
Readers but if you want to read the poem that triggered the discussion/reply below, you will have to read Marie’s pages for yourself and I’m sure you will be glad you did.
Toni, some days I wonder if the question of ‘inferiority’ matters in poetry. I wouldn’t presume to teach you how to write, for example. You remember the days when I wrote sonnets and you wrote free verse? Did it all seem easier back then?
I’m not sure I get your point about cultural ignorance being a factor in your interpretation of what I write – this poem in particular – at a time when so much poetry, so much damn good poetry, often seems arcane. When I read the works of WordPress poets I admire (such as Steven Myers, Claudia Schönfeld, or Mari Sanchez Cayuso) I do not always ‘get’ everything they’re saying. There is often a disjunctive quality about their work, which is part of their style(s) and technique(s) – or this might be in my reading and interpretation, I don’t know. Interpretation is part of the artistic process, even when bafflement is involved. None of us knows everything. Anyhow, sometimes I do not write with the sole intention of being ‘got’. Words can be used to conceal as well as to reveal; they can be employed to surprise, they can be used creatively, wrestled into meaning new things; they can be there for their sound rather than their sense, whether that sound is melifluous or raucous. They can be there for the way they look, which is one reason why I have resorted to the use of a stark courier font and an image rather than on entered text, and latterly in the ‘demon’s diary’ to the use of an arbitrary dot for the letter ‘o’. Maybe.
Dictionaries are fine tools. Yes, often I look for an archaic or specialised word, either in my own vocabulary or in my research – for example, my current ‘notepad’ contains boat-building terms and a series of poems might come of that.
I know what it is like to doubt the worth of one’s own poetry (surely we all do that?). I think it would probably be of inestimable value to me if you would say to me, “What the hell is this mish-mash supposed to mean?” sometimes, instead of lamenting your own supposed lack of understanding. Tell me where I am going wrong in your eyes. I am not some lofty goddess of poetry; I’m a struggling writer, full of self-doubt but willing to persevere and to experiment. If I am dedicated to anything, it is to operating as though the Chinese walls between this- and that- type of poetry did not exist.
[By the way, have you read my 'lithopoesis' experiment from 2010? http://lithopoesis.wordpress.com/ ]
Anyhow… back to my bowl of cereal.