"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Monday, April 4, 2011

Wow, there's someone else at the door

In the spirit of making new friends in the writing community, I've been hanging out on Kindle Boards. Even if you don't own a Kindle, you'll find a lot of discussions about books and by authors. I encourage you to wander around.

One of the authors I met is Steve Drennon, a writer of both fantasy and poetry. Like most of us, he's been writing forever, and has three volumes of poetry as Steven R. Drennon, as well as a fantasy novel under the pen name Scott Dennisen.

When I saw he was looking for authors to guest on his blog AND he was a poet, I thought, how fortuitous. I need to get around more and guest on blogs, and it's National Poetry Month. Who better to have on my blog than a poet?

So here are Steve's thoughts about poetry and its celebration. I think you'll find him quite exuberant.

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Okay, a quick show of hands! How many people knew that April is National Poetry Month? Two people, just as I expected! Talk about an image problem!

So why is it that so few of us read poetry these days? Are we still traumatized by the required reading in high school? Is it because we associate poetry with stale, old-fashioned literature that has fallen out of fashion? Is it because we view poets as these elitist isolationists who expound on ideals that most of us don’t care about? Or maybe we just don’t get it? Seriously now, when was the last time you read a poem, or checked out a poetry book from the library, or even more importantly, actually bought a book of poems? Yeah, that’s what I thought!

Poetry has long been considered an art form. Personally, I think that was something drummed up by a bunch of poets who were trying to get people interested enough to buy their work! It really doesn’t matter if it is an art form, because people just aren’t buying poetry these days.

What would it take to get you to read a poem? Would it have to feature young vampire lovers, or maybe a scintillating murder mystery? What if it was all about faeries and other magical, mythical creatures that only existed in some far off fantasy world? Or maybe alien life forms that are trying to colonize the farthest reaches of space?

I think that is exactly part of the problem. I believe most people tend to focus on a specific genre and then follow authors who write in that genre. When you go looking for something to read pertaining to the paranormal, you don’t think about a poem. Maybe there are a lot of great paranormal poets out there, but I suspect not. As a writer we just don’t generally put our poetry into a clearly defined genre.

I think another part of the problem is that none of us really tend to speak or think in rhyme. That’ s not to say that all poetry rhymes, but admit it, the first thing that usually comes to mind when it comes to poetry is “does it rhyme”? If not, then isn’t it “just” prose? Even then, does it really matter?

Okay, so what can we do about this under-appreciation of poetry? Well, did I mention that April is National Poetry Month? Oh good, you were paying attention! In recognition of that fact, I’d like to encourage everyone to read at least one poem this month. Heck, if you like it, you might even end up reading two! More importantly, if you find a poem or a poet that you do like, tell somebody about it! Send an e-mail, send a tweet, or even blog about it! Spread the word: poetry lives!

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Just so Steve doesn't think we're all Philistines over here, I follow Ruth's Synch-ro-ni-zing blog just because of its beautiful poetry, and I have dabbled in verse my own darn self. But I agree with Steve - if you haven't visited a poet's land in awhile, or even ever, this is the month to try out the wonders of Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Sylvia Plath, or, hey - Steven Drennon.

His books are available on the Amazon Kindle, as follows:


Thanks for stopping by, Steve, and good luck with your writing.

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