Questions on Poetry
(From the Smart Guys!)
By Dennis Siluk Ed.D.
On a radio program last year I was asked several questions, and at a presentation I was asked several, a few the same. It seems to me lots of people are asking questions about poetry nowadays, and one of the questions was:
"Why do I write more poetry than anything else?"
Well that question seemed to be kind of repugnant to me, so I asked "Why not?" And he said, "It doesn't sell, and there isn't that big of an audience out there!" There I sat with my wife, and the radio commentator, and thought, and I'm sure he thought he had me stumped, I saw that smirk on his face. And then I said,
"Why do you have me on your program then, and why did you tell me, several universities are listening, and did you realize in the past several years more and more books of poetry are being sold every day, poetry has had its comeback, and it is not over."
Well as I said that was one question. Then at a presentation, I was asked another question, and it seems people are not asking questions to learn, rather to see if they can burn you - in this case me. To show how smart they are. Anyhow, the question was asked again,
"Why poetry? I mean, what is so special about it, it's not a big seller, and folks don't read it, and most people write it as it pertains to them."
Such questions, can't anyone come up with something more provoking, original, so I thought at the time: I said,
"First, if you can write poetry well, you can write anything well. It is the highest form of writing, or is supposed to be. Secondly, I repeated what I had said the first time, "Go check the bookstores; they've got large sections of poetry." There is art and skill in poetry. And third or forth, poetry is a little story the author is telling you, and yes, they have to condense it, and most often go according to a style, and it can be often times only read by someone who has experience that you have, but then so is prose in a way. It is just that prose is smoother to read. And if you use a lot of adjectives, you might be getting into poetic prose and you don't even know it."
Rhyming poetry didn't come into existence until the 10th Century, where many folks think there has to be a rime or a reason you don't use a rhyme schema in your stanzas.
Anyhow, I just wanted to share a few 'questions' I received from the smart guys. You all know them. There are a few reading this right now saying, "Whose he think he is!" (This is not a question, rather a statement). But you good folks, go buy your poetry books, read your best poets, write some, and put the smart guys where they belong, left alone in the back row where they will be asking dumb questions for the rest of their lives-to get attention and so the world will know how smart they are.
See Dennis' web site: http://dennissiluk.tripod.com
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