#GettingPoetry 2 – Fiddling & the Genuine

You have to love it when a master of the artform begins one of her poems with this line. Marianne Moore‘s most famous poem, simply entitled Poetry, is a lesson in why poetry matters.

She’s obviously taking issue with the “art” of poetry, the fiddly terms, techniques and devices that poets use – and abandons most of them!:

  • Forget all that rhyme scheme, ABAB, business
  • Skip the scansion looking for iambs, trochees and meter
  • and you won’t even find much in the way of euphony, alliteration, etc.

But you will find a conversational voice, logic and amazing imagery. All to the point of challenging: if you are interested in “the raw material of poetry in / all its rawness” and “the genuine, then you are interested in poetry.”

And bitten by this interest in (life? reality? shared experience?), the irony is that we need to master What poetic devices are and How they are used so we can gain insight into the genuine: Why poets choose their “fiddly techniques” to communicate their vision of the genuine. To our edification, annoyance, sympathy, insight, etc.

You might wonder why I’m fixating on poetry these days. It’s because I’m digging back into my passion for it to create a set of learning activities that can help students (everyone?) to “Get Poetry” as something vibrant, not schoolish or a problem to solve. My goal in the “Getting Poetry” series is:

to help students understand and appreciate poetry so much
they might cry, sigh, smile or memorize!

#GettingPoetry 1 – Moments of Insight

I think our world could do with a little more poetry. We live in polarized times where monumental decisions get made off the back of three word simplifications like “Get Brexit Done,” “Build a Wall” and “Stop the Boats.”

At the risk of offending sensibilities, can I suggest that life is more complex than these phrases imply? Pick whatever outcome you believe in, but a moment to pause, reflect and experience could go a long way to furthering communication and maybe even bridging some divides.

Great poetry is one way to prompt such a “pause, reflect and experience.” Poetry, like life, is not a riddle to be solved. Also like life, assuming that we “get” all poems or poets, like “getting” everything in life, can lead people astray.

Better to seek what’s real for you, make connections and find insights. Today let’s entertain a poet radical enough to question the importance of poetry itself – especially when compared to the power of love.

e.e. cummings, Since Feeling is First

Enjoy this as our more momentary media throws what it throws at us…