It’s (inter)National Novel Writing Month (iNaNoWriMo), though we all know I’m not working on a novel. But neither am I willing to pass up a chance to ride the wonderful wave of creative energy rolling across the globe and through my own amazing community. (Shout-out to all the beautiful Bluegrass writers!) So I’ve given myself four very different writing activities to work on this month and have been able to make time for at least one of them each day.
Today’s activity is blogging, inspired by this article on poetry by A.E. Stallings. I may have to print it and carry it with me for those awkward moments when I’m called upon to talk about what I do. (For the record, I often cop out by talking about editing, which is only slightly less deadly to conversation than poetry.) Stallings hits all the salient points, and I love him for it.
- Poetry is not useful, yet it is everywhere.
- It transcends us and will outlast us all in some recorded form, though who will care?
- Poetry is commercially non-viable and materially irrelevant, which makes it rather suspect.
Poetry arises from paradox, from the multiple meanings a word or image can hold. It’s a linguistic version of certain mathematical equations which seem to describe separate realities happening all at once.
Anyone who doubts the subversive, contradictory, and disreputable power of poetry needs only consider this year’s Nobel prize award for literature. It doesn’t explain much, but it makes a fantastic illustration. (Kinda like poetry.)
A.E. Stallings, “Why Bother with Poetry?” Times Literary Supplement Online, 7 Nov 2016,