when should i write poetry? ( for alc from poetry critical )

i’m not a poet unless i’m writing a poem. even after i’ve finished one, i’m not a poet, just a reader. readers aren’t poets. we don’t read poetically, don’t get into an arty dress and feel the tragic/comic sense of life passing through our lips as we recite some poem.

i’m not a poet because i feel poetic and start saying beautiful thoughts in a cute way; i’m not hemingway, faking out a macho. i’m not dylan or morrison, faking out a rimbaud rap to get liked; watching them watch me, saying to the crowd, “written poetry is dead, the only real’s what you do in bed.” i’m not that ‘do you like me, mr.?’ kid anymore.

i’m not a poet when i write poetic prose, cutified lawn fauns, like i do. nor are you.

i feel verbal, feel like making words. i start by saying stuff, lie to the page — “the air is round and my heart is high.”

i’ve no idea what this really means, but i see ‘air’ and ‘heart’. that’s the core, and i can visualize and make the necessary connection between them — ‘heart is like…’, ‘air is like…’. if i can find a connection that FEELS emotional to me, i can start to write poetry.

‘heart opens, air closes,
life slips in.
you take off your shirt
slip in the covers
sleep alone’

now i’m at the point where i should start writing poetry, try to find the real in this and what i really want to talk about. start seeing this shirt and this bed — the things the reader can see — and wonder what they’ve really got to do with me.

there’s a problem with poetry today. inferior teachers are teaching us that anything you like is real, without showing you more to like than what they know or can handle. you’re not a poet because you feel poetic, you’re a poet because you’ve written something you can see in a year and not cringe at, because you’ve honestly worked to find the poetry in the poem you’re writing.

this is just my opinion, and all writing is an experiment. i look forward to reading what other writers


philip guston


think is real about poetry for the poet.

hiroshima woman

you can make me the center of your target zone;
drop the bomb down, you can bomb on my home.
separate my shin from inside my skin…
just want some liebensraum, now, is that a sin??
I’m a hiroshima woman, i like to rock and roll…
blast your isotopic fission, umm, strip me to the bone.

well, it’s shred me up,
and nuke me down.
pulverize my head
with the rest of the town.
turn me into plasma; gamma x-ray…
nuke those folks,
i didn’t like them anyway.
red cloud in the sky,
have a hiroshima day.

and, here’s some more stuff i gotta say,
in a jail house rock kind of way:

now, tojo told me, “honey, green moon
‘need more stuff in Japan!
hell with roosevelt, got to break out the ban:
get me back to the safety of the frying pan!
and, i really need all them sumatra monkey glands…”

let’s fook. everybody, let’s fukushima!!
“nuclear is bad, bad yankeeees!!”

— umm, hitler said to hiro,
“turn the bums to glue.”
hiro said to tojo,
“cat, that’s what you should do,
cause, that whole population of China
don’t do what i say….!”

… oh, been to nanking,
watched’um chop some heads.
army boys be thrifty,
did not waste no lead.

and, some things,
you know they never go away:
have a hiro, i mean a foo-koo-shima day.

black bird in black sky

the sea is full tonight,
running currents from asia —
typical flow,
round and serene — it flows
from japan — fukushima,
where death grows in water
so green and still —
deep wells with melting rods, containers;
melting boy and girl —
isotopes eating the land.

a bird, a land bird,
floats upon strontium;
spirit on the sea. and, i see outside, the vivid sunset
reminds me of melting worlds now, fire and death;
and, i cannot shake the fear that my bones
are filling with poison: when i love in you,
i am giving you cesium. i cannot love you anymore;
i cannot kill.

i want to sing a floating song in the wind,
but, the waves and clouds spiral into cesium;
children will die,
birds will die. i want to sing a song
that shouts out happiness — but, the liquid
caress of radioactive water bathes hilo,
covers the beach at waikiki —
the sands, the trees; the people. children
will play, mothers will nurse, people will vote, happy
for their team.

leaders of the world, politicians — labor, communist,
fascist, republican realists, democrat souls: vanity boys
and girls. they didn’t tell you? did you ask?

i want to sing a song where i’m not afraid,
afraid to look outside, green planet…
to walk downtown and not look down,
to not have to see the pain,
they know they’re dying — the food, the air and water.

because, the sky would be blue;
birds from far away…shadow face

meeting a poem

most of what poetry is is presentation, as though the poem were standing there in your head and telling itself in a certain way. imagine your poem reading itself in front of congress, in a macdonalds, at a beatnik coffee house… or, even more so, intimately, sharing itself with sylvia plath or ezra pound or robin williams. your integrity is how much the ego you, as poet, would try to bend or style the poem to fit the audience, and you shouldn’t have to. for one thing, you believe in the truth of your poem as poetry, and on the other, that it’s up to the audience to combine itself with you. if the poem is good, if it’s written only as it should be written, like you’ve added a new gem or star or flower to the world, then, what? that’s the truth, isn’t it? that you’d dismiss someone coming to the beach and complaining there’s no clowns. libres

thug chance and aleatory chance

the last moment of the work has to come by accident. if you’re constantly concerned about having your reader like you and keep contact with you, that moment will never come and your work will be transactional utility grade typing.

chance may rule, but chance has to rule on something. writers who say that ‘it’s all chance, what’s to say what art is’, are only as right as their work. people get up at slams and say, ‘give me a phrase and i’ll make a poem on it’ are working the audience, a con, a thug move from a thug soul.iron face