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Thursday 17 November 2011

Credentials for a poet

A friend of mine,
a poet of ability,
finds concrete images
to represent his poems,
imagines favourite
and current works
as solid objects,
and in his mind
arranges them
like furniture
around the house.

He pictures then
the house engulfed in flames.

How many objects
will he hope to save,
given that
the risk to him
increases with each one?
(And just as interestingly,
I would have thought:
which ones?)
But no, for him
the question is: how many?

He'd try to rescue
two or three.
Enough, he thinks,
to give him the credentials
that a poet needs.


Cloudia said...

a poet breathes their own credentials; surely

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The Weaver of Grass said...

Interesting Dave to think about how a poet arrives at his inspiration. My son bought me a book of modern poetry for my birthday. In it the poets speak about how they got their inspiration. One said that he took phrases from news bulletins on the TV!

Elisabeth said...

A poem built like a house and deconstructed like one, too. thanks.

Ted said...

Yes, I do this too just as your friend does. I just wish I wasn't so fast a foot to save them, that is, I think I would write "better" poetry if I let some of those images burn. Problem is that they please me more than I am concrned about pleasing the reader.

haricot said...

Concrete images are important as wellas abstruct ones. And your poem tells us how the concrete image work. Inspiring writing.

kaykuala said...

A poet, is poetically sensitive. He cannot expect too gather 100% that would be too much to chew. Just a little each time and present a gem!


Berowne said...

A fresh and original take on this week's prompt...

Brian Miller said...

you know...i imagine he or she would be able to re-establish them pretty quickly if they were a poet...always creating...

mohamed said...

Inspiration is as precious as oxygen

Maude Lynn said...

What an intriguing concept! I'll be thinking about this one the rest of the day.

Friko said...

I like the rhythm of this poem; but then, your rhythm is always good.

Without rhythm, this could so easily be prose, still lyrical, but not a poem.

JeannetteLS said...

What a wonderful poem to express the workings of another poet. I don't care whether or not the poet is fictional. The images speak truth to me.

Art Durkee said...

It gets at the question of who the poet writes for, him/herself, or for a prospective audience. I've said that the audience comes later, that first you have to challenge yourself.

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't feel the same the poet in the poem does, about what I'd want to save. For one thing, the idea of credentials has usually seemed irrelevant, to me, in terms of poetry. There are moments where people ask you what you do, and you can answer "poetry" either with pride or with shame, but the idea of credentials doesn't really apply, in my view.

Do credentials make for an Ars Poetica, perhaps?

Cait O'Connor said...

So much is taken away when a poem is written, hopefully with good result.

Tess Kincaid said...

Pairing down and using only the essential words is so elemental to being a poet...super write, Dave...

Windsmoke. said...

A poet constructes and deconstructes his house with credentials and words, i think? :-).

Titus said...

Stunning, and confounding, ending. I'm clapping.

ds said...

You are a master builder, sir. Thank you.

sunny said...

Mr Dave its beauuuuuuuuutiful.

Dave King said...


The Weaver of Grass
Yes, very interesting. I am often set off by a word or phrase - usually a phrase - which might come from anywhere, sometimes from nowhere immediately after reading the paper or watching a particuolarly interesting programme on TV.

You made me think a moment there, but: yes.

Hi and a warm welcome to you. I understand this completely. I used to be too free in binning work too quickly, but too slow in producing work. Partly to remedy this I set myself the target of a poem a day. As a consequence I now do less redrafting than I did (I was an inveterate redrafter), which sometimes is good and maybe sometimes not. Diofficult to know when an d for how long to let them burn. Thanks for your interesting comment.

Many thanks for that. Food there for further thought.

Yes indeed, wise words. Not always remembered. Thanks.

Thank you for your encouraging words. Good to have you visiting.

Very good point. Actually, I'm sure that does happen. His preferred few do change from time to time.

As precious and as essential. Yes, thank you for commenting. Good to have you along.

Mama Zen
Thank you for saying so. It does seem to have sparked some interest and renewed my own.

Thank you for that. Coincidentally, I have been experimenting with prose poetry, but seem to reach a point at which I am not sure if it still can be called poetry.

Jeanette LS
The poet is not fictional, but he is rather secretive and I do not know an awful lot about him. The idea caught my imagination, but I don't think I have fictionalised it.

I agree the self comes first - which, I am sure, is where he is now - and, no, I wouldn't do the same. I think I was more taken by the idea of arriving at a concrete image to represent the poem. It smacks a bit of some memory systems that are advocated from time to time.

Yes, excellent point. Thank you for making it.

I agree that pairing down is a first condition. Thank you for the encouragement.

Nice way of putting it. Thanks.

Wow! How do I thank you for that? Thanks anyway!

I think that should be me thanking you - which I do.

Thank you so much, sunny

Mary said...

A little late with my response here. I've been kind of busy, but I think each poet must find his/her own way. If it works for your friend, more power to him. I couldn't really define exactly where I find my inspiration.