Friday, January 11, 2008


My friend Isabel at A Room of One's Own has reminded me of how much I miss poetry, finding that I've rarely taken the time to read it in recent years. Yet in the past few months I've stepped gingerly back into the measured currents of verse, reacquainting myself with Emily Dickinson, e e cummings, and Allen Ginsberg, who represent just a trickle of what I once swam through. Mind you, I've always enjoyed poetry, and even wrote a great deal of verse in my teens and 20s, some of it shockingly naive . . . which I guess is fairly typical for angst-laden youth. At my peak I could fill volumes of notebooks in mere months, as poems popped into my head at the oddest times. (As I mentioned last week, the shower seemed to be an environment peculiarly fertile for these little epiphanies.) But why did I stop? I think grad school chased the muse away, replacing her with a scholarly rigidity that eschews the loose verse and wayward lexicon of the e e cummings and Allen Ginsbergs of the world.

The best poetry - whether formulaic sonnets, sing-songy couplets, or the unstructured musings of more modern authors - ultimately reveals something about universal truths and one's own sense of self. (At least that's my rather uninformed opinion.) So I think now, in my 40s, having encountered - and endured - some life-changing events in the last decade, I'm better equipped to appreciate some of those stanzas that once grabbed my attention, their intonation and meter sounding a bit different filtered through 20 years of experience.

So one of my resolutions for 2008 is to read more poetry. And if I'm lucky, perhaps the muse will speak to me again, as in this haiku that I plucked from the ether today:

Stumble-down verse songs
Asleep in winter-dark dens
Await the new grass

1 comment:

Isabel said...

Glad to be of help to rekindle the poet in you. Write away, Brian! Write away and share it-with us, your family, and your wife and kids.