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what makes a poem?

3 August 2010
what makes a poem? is it nothing but
the ideas conveyed with lines and line breaks
or just the words unheard with eyes
that lie printed dead on a page?
current fashion and taste (now all the rage)
say that it’s just trajectories
of unassigned meaning, without any sort
of logical or causal intrinsic stuff;
and yet, a poem can be about more
than the powder-fluff of subjectivism
expressing truths, mystical
(even, Christological) without the isms
dictated by forced readings
through the pressed-seives of C/G/R-deconstruction
criticism; paradoxically, a poem
has to be about more than just the words–
the sounds and shapes of air in the mouth
express the lingual-fruit of true diversity
seeking ever and always back to the unity
of identiy between signifier and signified
where the died in the wool woolgathers
in ivory towers would be as lost
as millions of miscreant wretches
in the dinner-manners of Emily Post.
what makes a poem is the complete interaction
the creative impulse intiating action
that bind together word, meaning, and sound
to make mere words express something
not at all arbitrary, but profound.
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6 Comments leave one →
  1. 3 August 2010 15:51

    I “heart” this poem…. and agree with the woven wonder of your words. If only words were visible, just think how we could sing! Sorry… tangent…

  2. 3 August 2010 16:29

    lovely, lovely lilt in the writing
    so agree it is dynamic of reader-writer
    of signs/signifier and, perhaps, what is signified
    reinterpreted with value-added by reader with
    similar knowledge, life, experience?

    thank-you for this poem.

    i, too, ‘heart’ this poem.

  3. 31 August 2010 01:36

    i have just enjoyed
    reading some of your poems
    i like how you put words together
    but have yet to fathom the meaning.
    now that you mentioned
    what makes a poem
    i would like to ask
    if all those who write
    are called poets?
    those who read my posts
    oftentimes label it as poem
    but i don’t really consider myself a poet
    far from it.
    i just love writing this way
    short lines
    i prefer reading this way
    one sweep down
    rather than left to right
    on and on.
    now, that is too much said
    i’ll be back for a good read
    🙂

    • 10 September 2010 15:21

      I’d say, the point of my little piece was to show that arbitrary line breaks or even assent to some form (although assent to form is more helpful than mere free-verse, not that free-verse can’t be poetry) is not poetry; what makes Poetry is something that goes beyond that, something that uses language to struggle for meaning, to express real Truths that are inexpressible by the masses, to show something meaningful in a world that is obsessed with only the means (to any end). And the interpretation of literature has subscribed to the opposite theory for a while now…and so what passes for art is not art, but mere random arbitrariness at best, or preening megalomaniacal narcissism at worst.

      Thanks for the compliment; you’re welcome back any time.

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