Friday, March 28, 2008

Poetry Friday: Why do we do it?

I really shouldn't spend too much time on this post. I promised myself I'd be writing this morning. (Yes, I know that this is a kind of writing, but blogging doesn't buy the chocolate.)

But, I can't seem to stay away from Poetry Friday. I love that such diverse people choose to come together once a week and share a love of words, a passion for pronunciation, and awe at a phrase well-turned.

I love that some Poetry Friday-ites (that is not a phrase well-turned, but I'm on only my second cup of coffee) are funny and flippant, others are serious and classical, and still others are delightfully uncategorizable (and, yes, I knew spell-check wouldn't like that word. Pass the coffeepot.) I love that we love all kinds of poetry. I love that there's something out there for me every, single Friday.

I love that what we all share is the desire to dig into the human condition through the economy of words that is poetry.

So, this post is about several things:

* Why I love Poetry Friday -- see above.

* Why poets do what they do -- short answer: Because they have to.

Long answers: See Late Echo, by John Ashbery, in which he both has fun with the tedium of poets and their subjects, and gets to the bottom of it all. And see When I have fears that I may cease to be, by John Keats, to get a glimpse of the driving force that propels a poet forward, and its dwarfing in the face of the universe. Or, read The Flight of the Reader, by Billy Collins, for insight into the mutual crush, or, his Dear Reader, in which he acknowledges that he and we cannot help ourselves.

* And, this post is about the wordy goodness of Poetry Foundation , which is where I often go to find the poems I want to post, and is just as often where I discover new gems.

And, speaking of gems, go to Poetry Foundation's "Fridge Archive" page (both Late Echo and When I have fears are there.) Just like a poet, they've read your mind and have answered a need you hadn't articulated: you wanted your poems to have a lovely look, an artistic edge, a whimsical presentation, and they've given them to you on a platter (or, more accurately, in a pdf file that you can print, and later point at as you say, somewhat inarticulately to your children, "Look! Look! Look what I found today!")

Today's post is ultimately about this compulsion I have. It's about wanting to draw others into it. And so, this post is for Sarah, who thinks she was not born with the gene, but is allowing it to mutate and grow within her.

The entire Poetry Friday round-up can be found today at Cuentecitos.


Sara said...

Oh, that link to the fridge poems! I just downloaded several.

I can't stay away from Poetry Friday either.

jama said...

What a fabulous post. You've echoed so many of my own thoughts so well. And the fridge archive!? Wow, thanks, I never knew it was there.

Christine M said...

Three cheers for Poetry Friday!

sheila said...

Ooh, I didn't know about the fridge archive either. Thanks.

You reminded me of the answer my (then 3) son used to give me when I'd ask him why he'd done something (silly or inexplicable, usually):

"Because I did."

I like your post - we contribute because it's there.

Marianne H. Nielsen said...

Awesome post...thank you.

I too am hooked.

Cloudscome said...

Me too! I love love love Poetry Friday!! Thanks for these links.

Kelly Fineman said...

I'm sure that spell check wouldn't have allowed Keats's "charactery" either.

And I didn't know about the fridge poems. How uber-cool!

writer2b said...

I enjoyed your summary of Poetry Friday. Ditto. (Eloquent, huh?)

I also enjoyed the Billy Collins poems. I posted one of his addresses to his readers today, too.

Now I'm going to see about these fridge poems everyone's talking about...

Mme T said...

I LOVE poetry Friday. It gets me through the week.

Liz in Ink said...

Oh, this REALLY puts a smile on my face. Even though it took me 'til Saturday this week to make it around...

Beck said...

Great post!
My dad is a poet and so poetry is very normal to me, something that people do. I love Poetry Friday because it brings something that a lot of people are intimidated by into the sphere of everyday life - wonderful.

Sarah said...

Dear Karen...dear, dear Karen. Now you've done it. I simply MUST try out this Poetry Friday, ESPECIALLY if, as you say, it goes so well with coffee... :)

*delighted sigh*

I do love words.

I do love pronunciation.

Maybe in a little bit of a...fanatical way.


Something described as "wordy goodness" in the same breath as my name...

If I didn't know better, I'd think you were UP to something! :)

(Thanks for that.)