Tuesday, April 24, 2007
I'll never win the Robert Fitzgerald Prosody Award because I'm not writing metered poetry. I have written a few sestinas, sonnets, and a villanelle or two and don't find that those particular forms are all that annoying. What is it about the word experiments of the Oulipo that is so interesting, while the adherence to strict form of the neo-Formalists is so boring? It must be the fact that innovators in art lead us forward. Beginning any new piece of writing is an ascent into the unknown, but those who rely on form and meter to the degree of absurdity seem to misunderstand what art is. Some of the best poems have an organic nature that is undefinable. Many poets today are indebted to Jules Laforgue, who invented free verse, or vers libre. A main influence on Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot, Laforgue, along with Arthur Rimbaud, blazed a new trail with his writing and took poetry in a new direction entirely. Paul Verlaine said, "Take eloquence and wring its neck." That sounds a little extreme, but the goal is not always harmony. Writing that veers too far from the rhythms of the coversational comes off as sounding too stilted--forced. Poetry is the deep conversation.
ORBITING PLANET YOU
If I could fondle your anesthetic, and
tell the forest leaves to quit their labors
then among autumn clocks I would quince.
Question: Are there enough thieves in
your ocean to echo twelve years?
And my shimmering voices wonder
about the quality of your amber.
But here in my studio of dreams
your heart is a candelabra of dice.