Word Up Your Game
The joke goes, "He's a poet, but don't know it. His toes show it, they're Longfellows." OK I cleaned it up a little bit, but the point is being a poet is not always a self knowledge, as much as a discovery. I, for one, began writing poetry in high school after an English teacher foisted his opinion of modern poetry on us to my utter dismay. He challenged me to do better and out of spite I scratched out my first tome. Educate comes from a Latin term, educare, which means to draw out the best. I doubt that was my teacher's intent, but after fifty years of versing and rehearsing I aspire to inspire you to tap into poetic roots you may not even suspect you possess. Can you write poetry without reading it first? From what I've read online these past few eons it would appear so, perhaps a more accurate question is can you read poetry without being moved to write your own? My new book (pause for self promotion) has a blank page opposite each poem in the hopes that the reader, any reader, would feel equipped to jot their own impression, reflection, expression, while the emotive condition of reading is still fresh. It's an experiment and the results may never be tabulated but that doesn't mean they aren't valuable. To create, even if only for one's own bemusement, is an alignment Our Creator wired into our mind body spirit as much as the ability to love, eat, and…wait, wait, it'll come to me. Dream! Pick up your pen and let the birds of the air weave a nest of ideas, put your thumbs to work on your phone and note how many shades of green there are beside envy in the forest through the trees. The gait of a passerby may be the gate to a new perspective, the mile in another person's shoes begins with the same small step that put us on the moon a few summers back. My motive to encourage you, besides the telltale hope of selling more books, is the more people appreciating and participating in poetry the likely hood of better interpersonal, intergenerational, even international relations expands exponentially. How can I prove it? Fan mail. I recently got a Twitter note from a Muslim peace activist in Pakistan. She found some common ground to her life in a line, or two, I penned on the side of the road in Northern California. In turn her verse convinced me the world gets smaller, safer, and smarter as our hearts engage in word association. Poetry ought to speak plainly to the timeless and timely notion we are purposely connected. I don't know if I can say it any better. Maybe you can. Give it a try!