Friday, March 13, 2009

Being a Poet

"The poet laureate is an Aunt Sally, to be shied at by all the couplets of philistinism and ponce-bashing that the press like to indulge in. Yet poets are not naturally showmen. Poetry is by nature and convention a secret art.

"Poems are coded messages for your eyes only, left under pillows, behind whisky bottles, tied to roses, written in water. There are no regular poetry reviews in cultural magazines, or poetry programmes on the telly.

"Nobody is televising their awards live. Poets fall a long way behind actors and musicians, artists and novelists, for celebrity."

--A.A. Gill

Poets are seers bound by truth. They see and say what others dare not; their value is intrinsic, aligned with their perceptive selves that do not seek the spotlight.

Emily Dickinson

Poets precisely speak truth; their value is intrinsically profound. Whether soft or deep, in a sonnet or haiku, poets speak to us in ways that none others do.

e.e. cummings

In fact, poets are true.


DB said...

Hi Judith

I do enjoy these comments about poetry very much. One of my own quotes is "Poetry must be defended, with an army if necessary." Poetry is the mysterious art form. It is the beautiful autumn leaves that nature makes by the gezillions every year and then just tosses away to be stepped on by the unseeing. It can hang in a pretty frame as a dot of inspiration on your kitchen wall, or it can start a revolution. Poetry is not a performing art. I love poetry but I don't like poetry readings because there is no chance to ponder. I write fairly well for my own pleasure and others. But I'm not a poet. I wish I were.


judith ellis said...

Hi DB,

It's good to have you here. Your distaste for poetry readings is understandable. I was not particularly fond of them until when as a high school student, I became friendly with the poet Gwendolyn Brooks and went to few of her readings.

It was shortly after college that I met Maya Angelou and attended her readings. Awesome! Some years later I met Naomi Shihab Nye and she and I became good friends. With a soft sometimes steely tone she delivers, with a range of emotions, her her most beautiful lines. Hush, even the midst of turmoil. Silence.

For each of these poets, their live readings gave great pause for reflection. Each read their poetry so very well, ebbing and flowing stopping and starting, as in a performance. But I do appreciate the desire also for no exterior voices while reading some poems in particular.

Do pop in again, DB. I have popped into your blog a few times and think you're a fine writer indeed. I hope you are well.

You look like such the thespian! :-)


judith ellis said...

"It is the beautiful autumn leaves that nature makes by the gezillions every year and then just tosses away to be stepped on by the unseeing."

What words, DB! I have often thought of my feet treading on these every Autumn.

Cynthia said...

Hi Judith, thanks for posting this.
Each of quote on poetry makes me
value poetry and poets all the
more. And I'll take the liberty
of adding an Audre Lorde quote -
Poetry is not a Luxury.

judith ellis said...

Cynthia - Thank you for the Audre Lorde quote. I value her work. And, of course, you are "my" beautiful poet. :-)

You can read Cynthia's work here.

By the way, you may always take the liberty to add whatever you wish here.

Brosreview said...

Ah, a beautiful post!!! Hey, isn't this one of them quotes you quoted in one of my posts.

Oh, I totally agree that poems are coded messages and yes, poems reveal matters in a rather unusual way.

Nice!!! Makes me feel less weird!!! Hehe.

judith ellis said...

Yes, Ajey, I posted that Gill quote on a few blogs where mostly poets reside, including yours. You are a fine lyricist. Check him out here.