Oh, man….I must confess. I am a bad poet. I blast through poems and if they don’t touch something in me, I often don’t give it a second shot. I feast, I gorge, I gobble. I am an impatient reader of poems, and that includes my own. If I can’t find a resonance, if I can’t find a pulse, I discard it.
While I do put some work into the look of a poem I’m writing, I am far more concerned with the senses. Does it sound how I need it to sound? Am I drawing on a personal lexicon, and am I letting readers into that world? Am I too much in my mind? Am I overusing lines, words, and images? This matters much more to me than form – as long as it vaguely resembles That Which We Call Poem, I’m satisfied.
I also like discussing poems, and love to dive into a close reading. But I can’t be bothered with meter – my eyes glaze over. I generally don’t care about line breaks, enjambment, typography, and so on. It’s not a priority.
If I can’t feel a poem, if I can’t register anything on any of my senses, it just doesn’t impress me. I move through a poem like a dream – I’m on my own logic, I have my own imperatives, unclear to everyone and myself. I read them like a hedge witch – watching the borders carefully, looking for ancient signs and symbols. I cannot handle the pat, the worldly, the dry poems that impress others.
I will treasure a poem even if it doesn’t “make sense”. I will treasure a poem if my personal meaning for it doesn’t match the author’s intent. I will treasure a poem if it sounds like a magical incantation and reminds me that there is red blood flowing under the callus of daily life.
I am a bad poet. And I love it.