The Audience of One

Continuing with National Poetry Month, Day 3, and my stated goal of posting a new poem in this space everyday during April, this is as good a time as any to elaborate on my specific ideas about poetry. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I consider (to my chagrin) many works of poetry are disappointing and on occasion, even distasteful!

Certainly, all of us have different preferences. I’ll be first to admit my eclectic tastes. As I’ve read poetry in recent years, however, my reaction has often created angst … for me. I look at works which have been lauded and singled out for literary honors, yet I end up bewildered. Am I dense? Too clueless to understand?

Maybe so. I realized I needed more information (education), so I set out on a quest, my personal study of poetry. There were questions to be asked. For instance, what distinguishes excellence from mediocrity when it comes to poetry? Who are the arbiters who determine the essential quality of a poem, or lack thereof? Are there certain poets (who’ve stood the test of time) from whom I could learn if I I studied their works? Perhaps most importantly, who am I writing for? If (as I believe) poetry is a specific calling, then I must be content to be heard (read) by my audience of One.

from an article in The New York Times, 6/15/2014

This is a tougher gig than I anticipated! I learned The Poetic World (as defined by certain apparently authoritative gatekeepers) is populated by a select few, some of whom I’d rather not be associated with!

Am I willing to persevere? Do I have the stamina to continue creating poetry as my spiritual service of worship to God? That’s where I accepted that my calling (i.e. my personal obligation to glorify God) is as unique as I am.

This should not have been a revelation to me, maybe more of a reiteration of the same lessen God has pounded into my brain:  comparing oneself to others is a silly mistake!

During April, I’ll share additional observations about poetry I’ve gleaned. Today, my poem is a piece of light verse. I enjoy poking fun and I suppose my poetry reflects a lighthearted approach. The struggling artist (in all its manifestations) is certainly a spoof-worthy trope.

Days of Whine, light verse

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