a sunlit sidewalk…
grasshopper lands on concrete…
a hint of a thud
If poetry is an art, then why do bookstores exclude it from the section labeled “Art” where the works of painters, sculptors, photographers, etc. are offered for sale? The same goes for libraries. There’s something to be said about having a separate section for the works of poets and poetry anthologies and other books about poetry, as if it were to say, “poetry is the art of arts, therefore it deserves a section reserved unto itself”.
But perhaps over time, due to that very separation, and in the minds of patrons and other customers who happen upon it, the poetry section tends to become that part of the store (or library) where one can purchase (or check out) books by people who, like philosophers, tend to sit around all day thinking about things, reflecting on them like monks in a cloister. “They analyze things like philosophers, and thus become philosophers of sorts. But philosophy is not an art, thus the poet is just a psuedo-artist who uses catchy words and images to paint a mental picture, but the real artist actually paints the picture”. At least on a subconscious level, this might be the thought that runs like a thread through the web of conceptions which most folks have weaved in their minds concerning who and what a poet is.
Such a stigma seems not to mar the reputation of “artists”, such as those who practice the visual arts. But these same artists also think and ponder and reflect, as do poets. So I believe that there exists a sort of subconscious distinction in people’s minds between “artist” and “poet”, and this needs to be destroyed. I think we as poets should make an effort, if one has not already been made, to correct this misconception, to the best of our ability, in whatever way we can.
The bottom line is this: art at its essence is an arrangement of things in order to convey an image, an idea, an experience or any other reality whether it be in the actual world or an imaginary one. And this arrangement is common to all the arts: those visual, musical and written. Painters arrange lines, forms, colors and textures, et cetera, to paint an image or convey some reality. Musicians arrange notes, chords, melodies, et cetera to convey aural realities. And poets arrange words and phrases, perhaps even sentences sometimes, to convey the essence of things, things both real and fictional. Thus, we as poets should move to make the world aware that poetry has always been, and forever will remain, an art form, alongside both painting and music. My two cents.
There was a certain someone with whom I crossed paths once (I’ll call her “Reagan”), who touched me deeply a few years back. I’ve been wanting for a while now to write a little something in honor of her…a kind of tribute. As yet I’ve not found the words to express what I feel, and it’s going to be hard to do so, but I imagine the future poem to be a kind of written equivalent to Eric Johnson’s two songs, Song For Irene and Song For Lynette.
Both of these songs seem to me to be a heartfelt response from Eric to two persons who moved him in some way in his life, and the poem I want to write will be no exception….I just need the inspiration. Need someone or something to hit me with some! In any case, I’m thinking of rhyming it out, thus the title “Reagan’s Rhyme”. But no matter what comes of it, I hope I can do it justice and produce something that will truly honor her and pay sufficient tribute to such a lovely, beautiful creature.