Perfectly Imperfect Poetry

This will be quick today because I’m about to leave for Loveland CO where poet Marj Hahne will lead a workshop on Poetry of Place. So it’s a poetry kind of day for me.

I’ve been reading a little book, not yet available, by Brian Lerner, The Hatred of Poetry. The main points are that too few people get poetry (and whose fault is that? ) and that the poems we write will never live up to the poems we dream of writing.

Lerner’s second point seems not far off from other idealisms we carry–marriage, careers, children, vacations, our living quarters. But we don’t stop living in imperfect houses, raising our snarky kids, standing by our sometimes maddening spouses. The same rules apply with writing poems: go into it knowing you’ll fall short of perfection and do it anyway. It’s better to write poems than rob banks or eat unidentifiable expensive gourmet food. It’s better to write poems than to write ransom notes or political rants. You could, some day, come close to saying what you believe, what might entertain or enlighten a reader or two or even two hundred. Beyond that, you’re clearing your throat in the hope of singing one pure note in a vast repertoire of sound. Happy Saturday, I’m off.

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