When reading a poem, or when listening to someone reciting a poem, I first and foremost pay
attention to the language. It is the words that are important. What words did you select in putting your
poem together? Did you use syntax, tone, imagery, metaphor, or other parts of speech to enhance your
poem? All of these things, and more, are part of the language of poetry.
Firstly, let me ask a question: Se avete intenzione di trasferirsi in un altro paese, cosa si deve fare
prima di andare lì? I'm sorry. You say you don’t understand Italian. Mama mia! Well, let me rephrase: Si
se va a mudar a un país extranjero, ¿qué debe hacer en primer lugar para poder sobrevivir allí? What’s
that you say? Madre sagrada! You don’t understand Spanish. Okay, let me ask the question still another
way: Si vous allez déménager dans un autre pays, ce qui devrait vous faire avant de vous y allez? What's
that you say? Sacre bleu! You don’t understand French either. Okay then, how about this: If you plan to
live in a foreign country, what should you do first in order to survive there? For me the answer is simple.
One should first learn the language.
It is no different with poetry. Poetry has a language of its own, and it is a language that exists within
your own, primary language; and it takes that primary language and fine tunes its words in such a
manner, that with a fraction of all the words you can possibly use, you say it all, and sometimes, more.
Ah yes! There it is! Poetry is the language within its primary language which becomes more than the
primary language, and elevates itself to the highest degree. Isn't that a wonderful paradox? After all, how
can you take a small portion of an entire vocabulary, and create a language greater than its parent
Poetry is also a language which utilizes all of the elements of prose, with the added bonus, if you
dare, of being able to add uniqueness to your poem through the use of rhyme. These elements are
condiments on the spice rack of poetry, and like a master chef selecting ingredients and spices for a
pièce de résistance, an obra maestra, an opera d’arte, you, as a poet, must learn all you can about
poetry, and use all its elements, its vocabulary, to create your own poetic masterpiece.
I feel that the more I learn about poetry, the more I realize how little I know, and therefore, I am always
in pursuit of more knowledge in regards to this highest form of writing, so I can understand it, so I can
speak it well, so I can converse with it, so words in practice are words well spent, and hopefully, one day,
I can master as many of, if not all, the elements of writing I have at my disposal. So, in parting, permit me
one last question, in plain English: How can you write your best poetry if you don’t first learn the
language? Is poetry awesome, or what? I'm sorry, that's two questions.
|A Candle On Fire
This book is where I put all those poems I didn't know what to do with
so it has a little bit of everything