Today I added a category to my blog categories that I never would have thought would make its way on to this blog in a million years… Poetry. As part of my Imaginative Writing class at NWACC this semester, we are required to write poetry. It was an endeavor that I was not at all looking forward to when I received the book list for the class this summer and it included a book entitled Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within by Kim Addonizio. Yuck! (and another -uck word that is not suitable for a blog with such high-caliber literary writing as this) Poetry is for lovesick teenage girls and their emo counterparts. The only time I have written poetry in the past was when it was assigned in English class, and even then, I did it begrudgingly. As much as I was looking forward to the fiction writing part of the class, the poetry segment had me wondering if I want to just go ahead drop the class entirely and wait until I got to whatever university I transfer to and take a more specialized class then.
I might have gone ahead and dropped it, if it weren’t for two things. First of all, I had to get an override to get into the class in the first place. My English Composition I teacher, Mr. Walker, recommended that I go ahead and “comp out” of English Composition II because my skills were far beyond that class and that I would just be wasting my time in there (and by now I’m sure you can see what an incredibly intelligent and astute gentleman he is). He helped introduce me to my current teachers, Mr. McGinn and Mr. Harrell, and they signed-off on me skipping Comp II and going straight into their class. I didn’t want to go through all that and then say, “thanks, but no thanks.”
The other motive behind my decision to stick it out came at the last Ozarks Writers League conference in Branson last month. One of our featured guests was a paranormal fiction writer named Angie Fox (www.angiefox.com). During her presentation to us on writing paranormal fiction, she mentioned that she liked to write poetry in addition to her fiction because it helped to break up the monotony and tediousness of writing fiction. OMG! Could I ever relate! It’s actually similar to how I use this blog as a tool to the same thing. It forces your brain to stop trying so damned hard to think in terms of plot, character, threads, storyline, etc. every time your hands touch a keyboard. (Yes, I’m fully aware that there is something incredibly wrong with me.) She also contended that made you understand how powerful the use of one single word can be. When you are limited in the number of words you can use, only then can you understand the importance of one word. (Man, that was deep. That last was my thought not hers. I might even put that line on my Facebook.) One of my favorite sayings from Mark Twain is about this very subject. “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” Armed with this slant on my perception of poetry, I was actually almost looking forward to the poetry section.
Before I unleash my poetry upon this unsuspecting world, let first explain the assignment. These five poems are in the form of an American Sentence, which if you are unfamiliar with the structure, it is just like a haiku, but instead of three lines of 5-7-5 syllables, we lazy American just shove it all into one line. So, without any further ado, and with no more ballyhoo and gilding of the lily, I present to you the original American Sentences of the acclaimed poet, Richard Howk.
Gliding over the water as the sun sets in the cornflower sky.
Violet reminders of the first time we were together as one.
So much more than just tunes, your songs are the musical notes of my soul.
The secret takes its value in what it means to others, not to you.
Postcard received from the Caribbean. “Wish You Were Here!” Signed, Your Soul.
And with that, our poetry session has ended for today. Until we meet again, may fortune be your bitch. (How’s that for some classy, high-caliber writing?)