Saturday, November 7, 2015

Of Poetry and Others

I love poetry. This statement is incomplete. I have loved poetry for many years.

Poetry was was my first real friend and my first love. My first confessor. Poetry was my unfailing bartender. My son and my father.

Poetry is what happens when nothing else matters.

Even for the religious, poetry claims and saves. The poetic calls one to faith, anchored. Poetry puts one into a state of debt and we turn name it. In that place and time, the limit of one's soul, the ideal for worship and address.

All acts and works, gestures, and effects, publications and performances, that calls themselves poetry participate in essence in the central fact of this aspect of being that cuts across time, place, culture, gender, politics, and purpose.

I maintain this belief or position regardless of what anyone writes. I do not read a lot of poetry. This statement too is incomplete. I read almost no poetry. I read enough of one or another person's poetry to recognize that the work of that person in opening their hearts to others is accomplished, and then I put that book down. I, for one, cannot be informed on the topic of opening my heart. That a person opens their heart in a way that is novel, or unexpected, or entertaining, does not interest me. That is their concern. I wish them well.

Much of the effort that goes into the writing of poems in this time seems to me to have been, in other times and places, devoted to either religious worship or labor union organization. Or marriage. It is difficult and unrewarding to figure this sort of thing out. As is right, poetry in this time (as any other)  is principled upon yearning. That is the good. That good is justified as the words connect with persons similarly composed and concerned.

But I am not concerned, or composed to listed to poets for what matters. Far from it.

Rather, I believe that poetry is music the mind composes, on the spot, to reflect the urging of the heart. In this, I trust. I love poetry, and I love poets.

This statement is incomplete. I married a poet, Endi Bogue Hartigan, whom I love more than anything I have written or will write. This, I promise.