Internet Legend Xavier Onassis, Father of the Internal Bushing, posted his thoughts the other day about his inability to "get" poetry and abstract expressionism.
If you have something to say, if there is something you want me to know, just tell me what it is! Don't make me guess, don't leave it up to my interpretation, don't cloak it and hide it in obtuse phrases. JUST FUCKING TELL ME!XO believes that poetry is an attempt to obscure a meaning. I'm afraid I can't agree with this characterization.
Now, I'm no poet. I'm certainly no expert on poetry. Hell, I'm barely literate! So take this all with a grain of salt as the opinion piece it is (we all know about opinions, right). But I have given some thought to this subject, and here's what I came up with...
Poetry (and really all art in general) is a form of expression that attempts to bypass the analytical left brain and communicate directly with the intuitive and subjective right brain. It is an attempt by one soul to express feelings and moods directly to another soul.
So in order to understand what's being expressed, you have to first believe you have a soul. I happen to believe that everyone does, but many people aren't aware of it or may even deny it. For some people, the soul is like an appendix, an unneeded vestigial organ. Or, more like an unused muscle that has been allowed to weaken and atrophy through neglect.
In my opinion, these are the people who have trouble "getting it."
Granted, there's a lot of bad poetry out there, and a lot of bad art in general. This is probably what leads to the conclusion that poetry is an attempt to obscure a message.
But good art created by a skilled artist is just the opposite. A true master of the form chooses words as carefully and deliberately as any novelist, probably more so. Certainly they are more diligent that you ordinary everyday blogger. They devote as much energy and effort into perfecting the meter and rhyme and other non-verbal aspects of the work.
When executed by a master, the affect is very powerful... more powerful sometimes that a well-written treatise on the Unified Field Theory.
In fact, some works are so powerful, so well executed that even someone as soulless as that heathen Xavier Onassis can "get it."
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.Or this one...
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed byOr maybe...
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix...
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhereWe all experience moods and feelings differently. It's just a function of our humanity. But when good poetry actually connects, the feeling or mood can be like a punch in the soul.
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
tagged: art, poetry, Howl, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Frost, Yeats, The Second Coming