Friday, December 19, 2008

Poetry Friday--How Do You Know You're a Poet?

I remembered today (13+ years later), that the first thing I published, for which I was paid, was an article in The Christian Science Monitor that deals with poetry. It was a piece for the "KidSpace" page and introduced kids to terse verse.

I've been writing about poetry and I've dabbled a bit in writing poems, mostly haiku and senryu. But, I've never labeled myself a poet. Why? Insecurity, I guess. I'd think of myself as a fraud--someone who would be found out! Oh, the humiliation--I'd been living a lie.

How do you know when you're a poet? Interesting question. I thought I'd look at some poets who have written on the subject of poets and poetry:

Robert Frost--
I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.

T.S. Eliot--
Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.
Matthew Arnold--
Poetry is, at bottom, a criticism of life.
Maybe on the basis of the above quotes, I COULD consider myself a poet! I love discovery. I have personality and emotions. I'm a critic of life!

By virtue of this one, though, I am most certainly a poet:

Bob Dylan--
I think a poet is anybody who wouldn't call himself a poet.

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is taking place at Author Amok.


By the way, I checked The Christian Science Monitor's website and found that my first article can be accessed. If you'd like to see it, click here. You'll notice that in places where there should be an example, there is nothing. That's because a graphic was included, and those, I guess, don't show up in the archives! (If only I were more organized, I could put my hands on the original and fill in the blanks. Alas, organization doesn't exist in my world.)


Anonymous said...

Gee, and all this time I considered you one of the poets among the Sisters! We have had this discussion before: you are a writer when you are finally able to say you are. You are a poet when you can admit it. However, you are an artist when your mom hangs your drawings on the fridge...


I got it now!

Anonymous said...

Ha! The Bob Dylan quote made me laugh.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about my tenuous relationship with poetry. I've recently gotten back into writing original poems, but I definitely don't "feel like a poet," I'm just dabbling and screwing around. I wonder if "poet" is a title I will ever feel I own.

Diane said...

Hi Lisa! The Bob Dylan rule applies to you, too, therefore, you ARE a poet! And, if you can get your mom (or anyone's mom) to hang one of your poems on the refrigerator, then using Muriel's rule, that should make you a poet, also. --Diane