Hello, you. Yes you. My dear reader, as Charlotte Brontë wrote in her story, Jane Eyre some 200 years ago. Thank you for coming here to be with me. This is my first blog post.
In many ways the writing of a poet is introspective, an inward turn towards what we like to think of as the "soul," or the tiny voice that begs us to scribble into the early hours of the night. I think of writers like Emily Dickenson, who felt a funeral in her brain. Or Sylvia Plath, who said dying is an art, like everything else. These two poets are long gone, and yet their souls still touch at something inside of us that makes us wonder and wander the landscape that is the interior of our hearts, with all the darkness and light that accompanies it.
Poets tend to write about what we think and feel in ways that can sometimes be dense or confusing. I think this might be because of how much personal experience plays into the nature of writing. So often, writers tend to get caught up in the re-experience of the things we write about that sometimes we block out the idea of the reader altogether. The result is poems that may sound beautiful, but beyond the pretty words, the meaning is hard to distinguish. It often scares me to think of my own poetry this way.
Something that I find so beautiful about poetry is how it is able to capture the most obscure of emotions and experiences and transform them/translate them. We put on miner's helmets and dive down deep into the abyss below us, knowing full well that there isn't an answer on the other side. However, there is something close, and that is what we hold on to. We use metaphor, simile, and other figurative language to not fully understand something, but get as close as we can to understanding it. Why does our chests constrict when we are in love? Why do we remember certain memories in cinemascope? Why is a raven like a writing desk? The truth is, we don't fully know. But we know something that's like it. And that's surprising. That's beautiful. That's where I think the poetry comes from.
This blog post is me looking to you, my dear reader, and hoping that you look at my poems and on some level, understand them. By doing so, you understand me a little bit more. And vice-versa; I understand you a little bit more. Because the snippets of experiences we share are enough for us to connect to something; to each other, maybe, and perhaps even to those around us.
One of my writing friends calls this the vibe. This was on a night a few months ago, in the middle of the heat of summer, the sun blowing itself into the horizon with a fury. We were talking because he had came by to deliver a book of poetry to me as a birthday present. I remember he was finishing up his own book of poetry at the time, and in his excitement and uncertainty, he told me he was nervous about publishing. After all, it was his first book. But I discovered that wasn't the reason he was nervous: in actuality, he was scared that his poems wouldn't make sense to the people who read them.
"I just want them to vibe with me, you know?" he said to me. And I did know. I knew exactly what he meant. Because here is another truth of most writers: we want our writing to be read. We want it to be heard. And by doing both of those things, we want to be understood. Because through poetry we are untangling our traumas, our triumphs, our disasters and accomplishments, and saying to the reader, "Do you feel this way too?" It is our hope that you do. Because only then will we truly resonate as poet, poem, and reader.
The reader is one of the most important aspects of the poem: without you, we are merely screaming into the void. But the void is much more homey with company, don't you think?
So, my dear reader, I hope that you can vibe with me. I hope that we can continue to unravel the crazy, cock-eyed world that we are spinning through together. And may we have a good time along the way. Thank you for accompanying me on this journey.