Friday, June 5, 2009

The Writer's Medium-Poetry

Authors, like all artists, are a diverse group of people.  We come from different cultures, family structures and religious beliefs.  We have differing educational experiences and financial needs.  The one unique thing which binds us all, is our inescapable need to express ourselves through story-telling.  Even non-fiction historical and how-to writers find a place, within their work, to apply their unique voice.  Story-telling is a craft which has many mediums to explore.
After some, if any, searching, most of us will fall within the medium in which we feel the most comfortable.  However, like visual artists, who may paint with oils on a canvas one day and mold clay with their hands the next, writers too, have a choice in medium for expressing ourselves.  In order to keep ourselves and our voices fresh, it is important to reach out of our comfort zone and experience a different form of writing.  Beyond any professional benefits we might gain from stepping "out of the box", this exercise can bring a sense of relief and rejuvenation.  Consider it much like taking a vacation (as well as sending your muse on a much-needed, and well-deserved one)! 
I write poetry all the time.  I do it because I have to.  Because it feels so good, and because it's so damn easy.  That's right, I think writing poetry is easy!  But here's the catch: it's easy for me because I don't know "how" to write poetry.  I don't even know any of the rules.  When an experience moves me deeply, I write it down.  It may be short and concise, or rambling and broken up; fragments of a deeper, elusive, truth.  Sometimes, these fragments of prose strike a chord with a reader.  Many more times, I suspect, they do not.  And that's okay.  I write poetry for me, because it is my only true freedom.  I am full of admiration for the poets and humbled by the amount of time and labor which they put into their poetry, transforming it from a mere whimsy of emotion or untamed thought, into a true work of art.  I am so grateful for the poets and their dedication to this art.  I am indebted to the poets for their truth and honesty, a simple gesture which brings me tremendous joy and peace. 
Like a demure truffle souffle that melts easily, softly, in your mouth, and disappears without betraying the hours and the precise execution that went into it's formation, a poem is a gift.
I encourage you to take your muse on a vacation and explore poetry.  Trust me, if you're doing it for yourself, you can't do it wrong.  Then, treat yourself to the gift of reading poetry!
My featured poet for this week is Armando Romero, Charles Phelps Taft Professor in Latin American Literature at the University of Cincinatti, from Cali, Colombia.
Listen to Armando Romero recite his poetry here!

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