Most of you who read my work know I was first inspired in my childhood by Edgar Allen Poe. Unlike some writers who say they were born as writers, I had no such aspirations until around twelve years of age. I read The Raven by Poe and it caught my imagination. I wanted to know more about Lenore and what had happened to her. And I wanted to write–to put pen to paper and pour out all my emotions, dark or otherwise, in the art of poetry and short stories.
There are so many things I love about Poe’s work, too many to name actually. I love the rhyming and rhythm. I suppose he was a little obsessed with metre and was criticized for it. One critic (Emerson) even calling him the “jingle man”. Every time I come across this jingle man comment, I have to laugh. It goes back to one of my pet peeves in both the fine art and poetry worlds.
Rhyming poetry is ‘out of fashion’. And if a rhyming poem also has a pleasant rhythm, then it ‘s called crap, no matter how deep or moving the poem. The ‘in power’ people–critics and editors in higher positions of power try to tell the world what is acceptable and what isn’t. Whenever I’m around one of these critics and they drone on and on about the merits of poems, which to me have no beauty or meaning, my mind zones out and all I hear is blah, blah, blah, blah…………..until my brain turns to mush and I have to get away from them.
When I read a poem, it had better have some kind of beauty (rhyme or rhythm) or it had better be a prose poem that tells me a story. I can’t stand those poems that are nothing more than a bunch of words on paper and I’m supposed to dig out the hidden meaning. What rot! Let the ‘power people’ do it. I don’t have time for such nonsense. I love poetry that speaks to me, touches me on some kind of emotional level. Make me smile, cry, or wonder. Inspire me. I don’t give a fig about the “hidden” meaning. I only care about it’s meaning to me, or the clear meaning of the author. Notice I said clear meaning. If I have to read it more than three times to discern the meaning or for it to reach me in some way, then I’m done with it.
Those in the know would call me an under educated doofus. That’s okay. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. Even those of us who are erroneously called doofus. I feel the same about fine arts. Someone stands in front of a huge canvas, turns on a fan and throws paint in front of it to splatter all over the canvas. Depending on the artist’s name, this could be great art or it could be crap. If I did it, it would be called crap because I’m a nobody. I was at an exhibition once and I stood in front of just such a piece of art. To me it was somewhat interesting, colorful and pleasant to look at, nothing more and nothing anyone…and I mean anyone else could not do just as well. I said as much to the ‘in the know’ art critic beside me and he gave me what could only be described as a look of horror and said, “You simply do not understand great art.” Okay, then I don’t. But it’s my opinion that the people who say things like that are simply saying them so they won’t appear to be a doofus like me.
Don’t get me wrong, I paint colorful splotches and dribbles sometimes, but I use a bush, knife or some other handheld tool. I love abstract, impressionism, realism, surreal…ect. I just love art. But these splatters are not “great” art; I don’t care what your name is. They may be beautiful or wild or whatever, but throwing art at a canvas or even pissing on a canvas, as more than one well known artist has, is not great art, not to this doofus at any rate.
My advice is to love what you love, and don’t be afraid to love it or not, just because someone tells you so. Same with your writing, especially if you’re a poet. Write what you love, even if it is those types of poems I dislike so much. But don’t write anything just because it’s the ‘in thing’ at the moment. If you don’t feel it or love it, don’t do it.