POETRY: an attempt to record and communicate using the images of words unconstrained by a grammar

By not being bound by conventional word order, verbal conjugations or clause analysis, and translating 'weed-choked', 'flowers' and ' grass' into 'riotous', 'floreate' and 'verdure', the enthusiastic club member can have material printed in the local gardening magazine that looks and sounds remarkably like what is expected to pass as poetry in literary publications. Whilst a considerable portion of written matter that is presented as 'poetry' is quite amusing and entertaining verse, nevertheless from a public point of view, quite a lot is not much more than compostable verbal waste. If such a thing as a poem is to be created, then it will have most or all of the properties of any form of art... craftsmanship, simplification, symbolism, and imaginative diversity.

From a cerebral and abstracted perspective, one can outline the sort of ultimate aspirations that 'poetry' might aspire towards. It is an art form whereby the aspiration of communicating experiences and profound existential insights, is striven towards with optimized language. In its most ambitious form, it is the verbal expression of a cross-fertilization and complexification of conceptual images, which attempts to enhance the imagination and provide a reality perspective which is unique, and not predictable from the separate and individual images. Unanticipated associations of words, meticulously sustained aural rhythms, and carefully constructed echoes and resonances, all have the power to surprise and disturb. The skill of the 'poet' is to associate concepts that disturb comfortable expectations or illuminate with unimagined perspectives.

As well as such intellectualized... and somewhat pretentious... aspirations for what 'poetry' ought to be, it is nevertheless an everyday reality that many individuals have a desire to record in writing, personal and private emotional life experiences. Everyone has times in their life when events and circumstances are sufficiently out of the ordinary, that significant introspection is provoked. Rather than just logging such happenings, a linguistic invention of abstract and emotive words and associations can serve as a powerful catalyst for future recollection. Whether such creations are subsequently classified by others as 'poetry' or not is entirely irrelevant. They serve both as a powerful archive for the individual who created them, and as a focussed portrait to others as to what that individual was deeply influenced by. It is a record in time and place... just like a photo taken by a monument... of what existential matters a particular awareness was sufficiently concerned about to create an imaginative verbal representation. It is a linguistic image that may become a literary fossil.

Poetry has its origins in the rubbish of a dreamlike chaos, where ideas and emotions seed word sequence crystals, which are unconstrained by grammar, convention or logic. Faceted and polished, the set of linguistic associations is displayed or performed in an attempt to illuminate the mind of the reader or achieve an empathy with ears of the listener. The merit or otherwise of a poem resides in its capacity to induce novel and resonant images from diverse perspectives in the minds of a wide spectrum of awarenesses.

Much of what is promulgated as poetry is more or less just word-play with variations on line length. Short segmented lengths of prose-like language is partitioned up by excessive and psychotic use of the carriage return. Lines of ordinary word sequences are chopped up with the symbol well before whatever might be taken for a sentence has ever had the opportunity of reach the designated edge of the page. Ordinary language, sliced and layered on a page is not thereby poetic... no matter how theatrically or emotively it might be delivered.

verbal stacks of sawmill words
of squarecut metered treated lengths
chosen for their knot-free lack of warp
and ends which have the grain the same
stacked up piles of word-lines
ending rhymed or otherwise
are no more poetic
than stacked logs
trimmed and debarked
are sculptural

Neither does ordinary language, spoken with quasi ecclesiastical reverberations, thereby acquire the status of poetry. The attempt to engender an air of profound significance, by delivering juxtapositions of the mundane in a monotonic portentous manner several semitones above that of natural pretension...not poetry.