What was the first poem you’ve ever read?
I cannot recall the first poem I've ever read, but I can recall the first poem that left a mark and that was E. E. Cummings' I Carry Your Heart With Me.
When I first ventured into writing as a hobby, I began by writing creative non-fiction, then forayed into fiction prose and finally poetry. That was about six years ago and I haven't stopped writing since. I think as a person I have become more sensitive and observant. As a writer, I think I have become more open-minded to modern structures (alt lit, if you will) and more experimental.
In your opinion, what makes a poorly written poem?
Well, it's a subjective matter. What one may find poorly written might be applauded by another. However, strictly in my opinion, a poem is poorly written if it is simply written for the sake of it - it neither contains emotions or information, nor does it evoke emotion nor provoke thought.
How would you persuade a non reader to read poetry?
I've never had the opportunity to do so, but I suppose I'd appeal to their love of music (who doesn't like music, right?) and make a connection between the lyrics and poetry (it is poetry after all!).
Is poetry useful?
Oh yes. To quote John Keating..."We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for."-Dead Poet’s Society
Bonus Roger shares with us today a poem he wrote:
Down, to Earth
Love has rendered me mortal
Once I was a kite — high-flying
untethered, you know?
The wind my courtship, my ship, my ever-way
I saw the earth from above; I was untouchable
up there; unreachable, up there.
I was an artist unencumbered
with the weighed intensity of entanglement,
I was free, I was unanchored
to the ground and all its limitations --
I soared the sky
an eagle, a king, an entity — something,
In my wingspan, my breadth,
the world my own.
But then my string was snagged;
A tree timid amongst others.
I let myself entwine with her branch outstretched,
She reeled me in; she brought me down
and I saw the sky from down below --
its majestic beauty once lost to me,
now I sit under it in unmasked awe.
But the land is wide, the land is vast;
my anchor, my tree, her roots are deep
Shallow, breathless — ever breathless --
I cling to the breeze that wafts through her leaves
and I cling to her with all my want
Because love has rendered me mortal
and her stoic silence which scrapes my skin
draws blood, draws pain, draws awareness
And I rather clash in ignorance with the clouds
but here I am, sitting on the counter
in my kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil,
coughing up my sickness, chugging down honey and ginger
because I am mortal now --
Love has rendered me mortal
And a weak mortal, I am.
© Roger H. Brightley February 2014