Letter to a Potentially Reluctant Reader
First, let me just say this: I’m sorry for all your teachers who made you hate poetry, or at least those who just weren’t able, in their misguided intentions, to help you love it as your own. I ask you to let go of some old story that it’s hard, not for you, or mysteriously a puzzle to be dissected or figured out, as suggested by Billy Collins in “Introduction to Poetry:” “But all they want to do/ is tie the poem to a chair with rope/ and torture a confession out of it.” I give you permission, now, to give up describing yourself like this: I’m not really a poetry person.
We are all poetry people because we are makers and creators of language. We are the harbingers of expression, and no matter our role, place, job or country, we are longing to be understood. Language is that net we throw out across the great space between us, and like other art forms—music, visual arts, dance, theater, etc.—poetry’s aim is to say the unsayable and draw someone closer as we are connected.
If you are a poetry purist, this book might offend you: I’m offering some context, ideas and interpretations of my writing process, what I’m attempting to do in the poems, sharing some of the backstory and narrative. Poetry purists believe that a good poem should indeed stand on its own legs, without the poet’s identity, explanation or justifications. True as that may be (a good poem lasts long after the poet is long gone), I want more people to enjoy poetry now, see it as a way to be in the present moment by reading, hearing or even writing poems, and so I’ll risk it. Skip the notes if you just want to savor the poems. Make the experience your own. Ignore me if you wish.
This website was assembled to share some of my favorites, old and new, in the hopes that you might enjoy them yourself, you might give it to someone else, you might begin some strange new conversation with, “You know, I have this great poem I really want to share with you…”
Love and Blessings,
2012, Seattle USA