Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A to Z : Color As Beginning - Richard Brautigan

I am a participant in Arlee Bird's 2013 A to Z Challenge!  I am posting a poem for each letter of the alphabet.  Sometimes the poem will be prose, other times it might be an artistic rendition of the poem, or a reading by the poet... the possibilities are endless!  I hope you will be stopping by throughout the Month of April to check them out!



13 comments:

  1. Poetry is a perfect A to Z theme, especially since April's also National Poetry month.

    That's a beautiful rendition of that poem.

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    1. Thank you! Richard Brautigan is such a talented poet-/ it was hard to pick just one poem!

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  2. Well, I don't really think that's a poem, but it's nice prose.
    I don't think, though, that I would really want to die in anyone's hair.

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    1. What would you define as a poem? (Curious) Technically, I don't think Id like to die in anyone's hair-- though while dying, I wouldn't mind being tangled up in my daughters hair- it always smells of berries and the wind and is as soft as velvet...

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    2. I actually just did a series of posts about poetry over the last few weeks, but, in short, most free verse isn't actually poetry; it's just prose written in verse form, which does not make it poetry. Poetry needs to have some kind of structure to it beyond choosing to write it in verse.
      (Basically, if you re-write it as a paragraph and you can't tell when reading it that it's poetry, then it's not.)

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    3. Fortunately the definition of poetry is much greater than that! Poetry is like love and like God in the sense that it's impossible to easily define. And poetry is like the universe in that it is constantly changing, and expanding, it is mysterious, and so our perception of it must change as well. Poetry cannot be defined by a set of characteristics. I could write a block of text in stanza form and it could even rhyme, yet it might not be a poem! If I wasn't engaged in writing it, and if it doesn't move somewhere, it might not be a poem but just some words I strung together based on a pre-determined form. This is a gray and murky subject because each individual experiences poetry and the making of poetry in his/her own way. While it's true that some free verse IS just prose written in verse form (I've seen plenty of this firsthand in workshops!) - -it's not the lack of formalized structure that makes it just a block of text and not a poem. It's the lack of making something new, or perhaps the lack of an emotional truth, or maybe the lack of imagery, the lack of movement, that makes it "just prose written in verse form."

      When I write a poem there is no way to tell if it's my best work -- no list of characteristics I can check off and use to determine if my poem is a good poem, if it's a poem at all. But what I can do is ask myself what my experience making that poem was like. Was it the most wild and ecstatic and human it could be? Did I engage with some inner truth, some dark part of my Self?

      Also, in response to the question "What is Poetry?" I'd offer this:

      "Poetry is the light feet make walking across wooden boards, that is your fingers, which are the language of love, in that it is also the burned out car, meaning, really, an empty field, which is grief, which is also one of our most important inner organs, but for the heart, which pumps throughout the night, a cool night, a rainy night, a night of the everlasting animal which is us, which is poetry." --Matthew Dickman

      See other answers to the question here! http://www.hungermtn.org/list-1-what-is-poetry/

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    4. Also, it's interesting that this topic came up in response to a Richard Brautigan poem, who considered himself a novelist over a poet, and has been quoted saying that he only wrote poetry to learn how to write novels, to put sentences together. And Richard Brautigan was highly criticized for his poetry, and, indeed, many of his critics accused it of not being "real" poetry. And in the case of some poems I might even agree, that it reads more like journal entries instead of poems. Richard Brautigan was the first poet who made me fall in love with poetry, and instead of arguing whether or not all of his work qualifies as poetry, it's more interesting to talk about what we can learn from a poet like him -- his transparency, for one thing -- breaking down the wall between "speaker" and "poet" -- we get very intimate with Brautigan because we sense that Brautigan the person is Brautigan the poet -- he is speaking to us directly, or, in some cases, letting us eavesdrop on his quietest every day moments. And so while formally or linguistically the poems may not be doing anything new or interesting, emotionally, poetically, there is a whole world to discover.

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    5. I couldn't agree more, Sarah. Thank you for taking the time to comment! I really appreciate that.

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  3. Niiice! A creative take on A to Z blogging!

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  4. Cool--thanks for sharing!

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    1. yes! you're very welcome! :)

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  5. This is excellent. I'm loving the poetry this month (and is it a coincidence that it's national poetry month?).

    Keep it up, and I'm coming back.

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