On Writing Poetry
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As writers, we often hear the lament from other writers that, “No one reads or cares about poetry anymore.” While on the surface, this statement appears to have some validity (as reflected on the home pages of many publishing houses), there continues to be an eager audience for those of us who craft eloquently worded images—adroit reflections of the rich life experiences we’ve enjoyed—or endured.
I teach at a community college and am often asked, “How do you know what to write?” The honest answer is that I often don’t. It has been my experience; however, that the singular most important habit any author should practice is, “Just do it!” Write something, anything. It doesn’t matter if you wind up trashing the entire piece. The act of writing is as much a cumulative affair as it is a unique event. Everything we write, create, develop becomes a part of the lexicon of our “tool bags”- the methods and techniques we use to shape our creative worlds.
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While most of us find inspiration from daydreams, random thoughts, or those fuzzy, blurry snippets of dreams we just happen to vaguely recall, we sometimes can’t manage to get away from analysis and into action. Many of my students have that same problem- and are frustrated because of it. Perhaps some of the problem lies in the overabundance of stimuli we are constantly bombarded with every day. Imagine for a moment, Thoreau’s idyllic Walden Pond placed at the edge of a sprawling metropolis. Would he have still found such a place as peaceful and contemplative as it was when he stayed there? Probably not. Fortunately, we were blessed with the results of his deeply introspective musings, explicitly because of the peace he found there.
So what do we do when we cannot find a peaceful place to ponder life? Well, we can certainly try to change our surroundings- even if for only a few fleeting minutes. Sometimes, a short walk through trees helps me. I try to clear out the built up aggravations, and instead concentrate on the beauty nature freely offers. Sometimes, sitting quietly by a slow moving stream helps, but just as often, I find that listening to music has a huge effect on smashing through that “granite writer’s block” we often find so insurmountable.
But what does all of this have to do with poetry? Poetry is present in everything we see, touch, taste, hear, and feel. In nearly every human experience, there is a word, an image, a thought which strikes a resounding chord in our soul. We are inextricably tied to the world in which we live- and our poetry serves to document our fragility and foibles. It is critically important that we continue as the scribes for not only our generation, but for those who follow.
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Enjoy my poetry offerings below, both based on the paragraphs above.
She stood there,
disarming me with her smile.
White apron tightly tied,
As Mazzy Star blared
From tinny speakers above us.
Until this moment,
I never noticed one blue eye,
And one green eye,
Behind black horn-rimmed glasses,
Or how I faded into her.
“The usual, Hon?”
I nodded my affirmation,
Both of her,
And the food.
As she turned to get the coffee pot,
I thought just how
Strange it was she left me.
Hallowed dreams just fade away,
Hollowed out by ,
Halo wearing devils,
Taking samples of my id
Cut paper thin by rusted razors.
And you, freshly showered,
Wonder aloud about my angst.
The obtuse anxiety over,
The ignoble and immoral,
Who have stolen
The content of a soul.
©2015 Eric Keizer
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