Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Musings on Poetics

There is no way that I will be able to write anything as profound as a manifesto; so I’m not going to try. Instead I’m going to share my thoughts and musings on poetics.

Throughout this term there have been a number of people that we have read that I like or dislike. There are elements in poetry that I like just as there are elements that I dislike. I’ve also found that there are some poems that have elements that I dislike and this is where my idea of poetics comes from. It isn’t just the words, or the line breaks, spacing, dashes, punctuation, capitalization, or stanzas that make a poem. It’s the effort, fun, and ultimately the final image that I find fascinating. Don’t get me wrong Kandy is right when she said that words are a large part of poetics but I don’t think that is what poetics is to me.

I dislike Walt Whitman with a passion and he uses all of the parts of a poem to his advantage, including words, and it his poems are great poems but I don’t like them. I think a big reason I don’t like them is because for some reason I cannot see the image that he is trying to form. I can’t see this image so I don’t appreciate the poem even if there is profound meaning in it. Since I discussed Walt Whitman I have to look at Emily Dickenson, who I do like. In her poems I get the image, I see the woman with the headache trying to get onto paper how it felt and finally came to the conclusion that a funeral was going on in her head. I’ve had the days that were so busy that I felt if something happen it would have to wait until I got everything done. The image is what I get because of the combination of words she uses, stanza’s, punctuation, capitalization and dashes. I’m of the firm belief that a poem could not be what it is without the consideration of all of these elements.

My chapbook was an experience and I loved it because I could see the images. I knew they were there and I knew that even without the movie the image could be seen in the set-up of the words and punctuation. I mean some of the produce an image no matter what, which is why I thing I’m fascinated with movies, books and poetry. I also think the reason I finally settled on choosing to do movie quotes wasn’t because it was easy but because it was fun to put two images that may not go together side by side, in words, and see all three images and the image of the final poem. The things I found most valuable from this assignment was the knowledge that not everyone is a movie fanatic like me and thus gets the references, even though it might be fun to find them, and when to follow punctuation and when to allow every beginning word to be capitalized. I read through my chapbook after I changed the poems to follow the punctuation and it amazed me the difference it had in the way I read it. I’m very glad I learned that lesson now instead of later.

Basically my view on poetics is that each poem creates an image or series of images through the various decisions that it makes, each as important as the last (do I put a dash here? A comma? A period? No punctuation at all?) because they each make an impact on the poem. Words can be arranged in exactly the same way and still take on totally different meanings and attitudes depending on the way it is put on the page.

I … killed a man today.
I killed a man today?
I killed a man today!
I killed a man today.

Each sentence has a use, a purpose, and an image.

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