Saturday, February 08, 2014


Recently responding to a despairing poet, I promulgated a new definition of poetry:

Poetry is wordtingle.

Here is my current view of poetics.

I think you are attached to the words/notions, "poem" and "poet."

I suggest you abandon those terms completely; they are limiting your perspective.

Substitute the term, "wordtingle." (Call me a German, I smash words together.)

Almost nobody who is not a participant in the poetry industry buys poems. (By participant I mean students, teachers, critics, publishers, and would-be poets themselves.)

There is a huge audience for wordtingle.

Let me suggest: "Word combinations so beautiful they make you tingle."

Rather than say, "I'd like to recite a poem I wrote recently," say, "Here are some words that (I hope) will make you tingle."

It's a high bar. It's a very high bar.

People hate "poetry" because most things that are called poems simply don't make them tingle.

(BTW: Viewing a great painting makes me tingle.)

Nobody seeks out haikus. But write a beautiful prose sentence with the haiku-number of syllables and people will like it. They might even repeat it. What is gained by breaking it into three lines except to deem the sentence "precious"?

A poem is an utterance repeated word-for-word for aesthetic purposes. A poem is like a toy--a toy gains life only when a child plays with it, a poem, only when it's repeated.

Abandon verse. Write only prose. Write only sentences that obey the rules of grammar and syntax. Read every sentence aloud many times. Modify each sentence until it sounds really good.

Continue this process until the utterance makes you tingle. If it doesn't make you tingle, why would you foist it on someone else as "poetry"?

Clarity of meaning allows us to relax and enjoy the sound.

Every sentence must make perfect sense, AND sound really good.

Summary: Forget "poetry." Write beautiful sentences instead. Apply/publish them in everyday discourse and media.

People praise beauty all the time.


BTW: This email is written in what I call "e-verse." People hate (and won't read through) paragraphs on computer screens that are any longer than those above.

(c) Copyright 2014 William Morrissey All Rights Reserved.

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