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verbosity is not the same as literary

April 30, 2009

Going to a reading listening to poetry that has all the life sucked out of it can put a girl in a bad mood. I can appreciate all kinds of work for what they are and where they come from, different styles than my own for sure, but hear this Art School Poets: don’t subject me to too much of that you just chose-a-bunch-of-words-you-picked out-at-random-from-a-dictionary-hoping-you’d-sound-smart or obscure enough and then read it like you just woke up. I’m sure you spent a lot of time on it. Let me read it in my spare time with my dictionary in hand (right, cause I have spare time). I’d rather listen to spoken word from a kid’s first time up at the open mic with her journal rapping about unicorns. At least she has heart.

One of my first true inspirations to really write that I can remember comes from stories I heard many years ago about revolutionaries like Ernesto Cardenal teaching literacy in Central America through poetry. When I read some of these poems I realized anyone can learn to write poetry. Some just have that innate gift of storytelling and others just need the tools to bring that out. As I progress through my creative writing program I keep myself grounded in a simple desire to communicate and tell stories playing with all the tools I can, discarding the ones that don’t serve me, comfortable in the feeling that I at least left myself open to styles that may even for the time being oppress me.

But I get to a point where I just want to go back to the comfort of poetry that was actually meant for me to understand without being too plain. Give me something with a little heart. Sure there’s a space for everything but don’t oppress me with your verbosity and then wonder why I don’t buy your book.

There. I hope you feel better now we have made that clear. I know I do.

Oh great.I just had the urge to type a smiley face so I wouldn’t upset the literary establishment too much. Effing nice girl socialization. That’s another topic for another day.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 30, 2009 11:55 pm

    I’ve always felt that Latino poets represent the very best and the very worst of what poetry can offer, there is very little middle ground. We can have deep, profound, accessible exchanges or we can have laughably bad poetry that is all words and no soul.

    I’ll take unicorn raps over bloated poetry any day of the week.

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