Thoughts on Poetry - by Gerard A. Geiger
Thoughts on Poetry

I am fiftysome years old and have a Masters Degree in Public Administration.
I graduated Rutgers University with Majors in History and Political Science,
with a minor in English.

I tell you this to advertise my meager qualifications in support of the
apostasy I am about to commit.   I hope you are ready for this.

Can you handle the truth?  Do you have a broad understanding?
Do you have perspective unadulterated from personal gain?
Okay, Okay, here is the truth as I know it... The truth about poetry.

Poetry is simply a word song about something you have experienced or felt.
The poet communicates through the use of diction, meter, rhyme, and word choice
based on intonation and meaning when spoken out-loud.
The poem communicates ideas, feelings, emotions, the full gamut of human
experience to relate a message to its intended  audience.  The intended
audience should generally be anyone who speaks and understands the language
in which the poem is written. 
There are no rules for writing poetry, unless you wish to restrict your canvas of
creativity by playing a specialty word game such as haiku, senyru, sonnet or other
scrabble crossword type game, which incidentally, after first begun, has a tendency
to grow disproportionately in importance with the message of the Poem.

These types of word games should be avoided by everyone except the most bored
poets who wish to experiment with a new poem form not of their own native culture.
The reason they should be avoided is because these poetic word games confuse and
corrupt the communication process....at the transmission point and the reception
point. (the sender and receiver)

Here is the overriding Truth about Poetry:  If the poem is in your native language and
does not make sense to you, or does not impart a specific feeling, or emotion, or idea,
Then the POET has FAILED in his JOB, by not communicating.....by failing to impart
his idea to his audience, those who speak the same language.  

Academicians will not tell you this.  They also do not teach this.  If I were to be
perfectly honest with you, it is my firm belief that they have obscured the message
through the teaching of the artifices employed in poetry.  Do not forget the message
is the most important thing....one human sharing their innermost thoughts and ideas in
the most simple and elegant manner possible through their personal interpretive filter
of the medium of language.  This, I believe, constitutes the poet's highest degree of
craftsmanship employed in creating his poetry.

The rest is all bullshit, horsefeathers, chickenlips, and poetic posturing.....Remember
this axiom:  If you don't get much out of the poem, there probably isn't much there.
This is not your fault....the poem should be understandable at least on one level.
This should be evident after one reading.  Poetry is supposed to be thoughtful and
recreational....it may deal with horrible topics and situations encountered through
human existence; but it should at least present these topics in inventive creative ways.
If you bore your audience, you lose a valuable customer, confidant, and advertising
machine. No poet can afford to lose a reader.   You are tested each time you put the pen
to paper to pull something new, unique, and flavorful from the same bottle of ink.
It is not too difficult if that is what you like to do.
If you don't like to do it, please don't, as the rest of us suffer the consequences of
your actions/inaction.


Gerard A. Geiger    April 10, 2006.

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