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Foolishness & Folly

Creativity Through Disorder

It all began by jotting down the odd idea or association that presented itself. That eventually led to a later re-awakening and respect for the power of words to shape and convey ideas. The gap between then and now was filled with books.

That led to this.

I am reluctant to call some of the pieces that I’ve written poems. There are just too many bad connotations attached to that word. It brings to mind the early introduction to rhyming couplets, quatrains, and iambic pentameters forced on students by well-meaning grade school teachers. I know it was in the curriculum, but uncounted millions have embarked down that dreary path thinking it was the only path.

At the other end of the poetic spectrum lies Ginsberg’s “Howl”, William Carlos Williams’ “Paterson”, the works of Ferlinghetti, Kerouac and Burroughs and, while they are not generally classified as poetry, Joyce”s “Ulysses”, and Thomas’s “A Child’s Christmas In Wales”. Then, in a class almost by itself, are the lyrical dreams of Whitman. These and many, many others, while they were works of message or mood, were also concerned with breaking down the rigidity of Romanticism and classical Edwardian formalities. They certainly broadened the horizon. Byron, Shelley, Yeats, Keats, even Shakespeare, and others too many to list, all added to the body of the craft.

I could go on and on to list my influences.

I’ve learned that the beauty in a piece could lie, not just in rhyme or rhythm, but can also be defined by its form or internal structure. That explains the beauty of the Haiku, the strict guidelines of three lines of five/seven/five syllables. I’ve tried this adherence to structure on a few occasions and personally found it satisfying. It offers a framework. It’s up to my few followers to judge their success.

So forgive the occasional lapse into poetry. In all other cases, I’ve tried to make the end piece, at the very least, lyrical where I define lyricism as pleasing in subject, perspective, and in choice of words or phrasing. That subject has always been something near and dear to my heart, maybe even an expression of something I could not, otherwise, talk about.

Think of it as inexpensive therapy.

This could be mere foolishness, but I’ve studied the act of word-smithing from many angles. It began with patient and tolerant teachers and later when I was a starry-eyed teen, then prompted by a not-so-tolerant university T/A named Brian Hepworth. He invited us to repeat obscenities in his tutorials to overcome our fear and reluctance to use all of the linguistic tools at hand. For the time he was very unorthodox. To think I was self-taught would be a mistake. I’ve had hundreds if not thousands of teachers. Most of them masters whereas I am just a neophyte.

But don’t think for a moment that I’m prepared to stop.

I won’t.

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