Why I Think the Debate about Spoken Word Poetry is Mute

December 2, 2010

Poetry – that elusive thing that once breathed into the universe leaves its echo engraved upon the hearts of men.

Notice that I do not mention words, written or otherwise, nor do I mention rhythm, beat, tone, form, or any of the dozens of other things that poets contrive to place upon the meaning of poetry.   That is because, to borrow from Ralph Waldo Emerson, words are symbols for things.    As such, poetry of men uses symbols in the form of letters and words, to create something which can then represent things, emotions and connections in a new way that constructs and makes clear in the minds of other men a whole new way of understanding the world.   Emerson’s impossible job description of “The Poet” makes clear to me that men can never truly be poets. 

That which poets construct, with words, is but a meager symbol of the true poetry that exists in the ever-changing, yet never-changing, seasons of nature.   True poetry exists only in nature – in being.   Poetry of men is merely a symbol of those emotions felt in the dances of butterflies as they flit from one bloom to the next or in the slow unfolding of a ruse bud to the morning sun. 

Poetry – that which is written and treasured by men in the catalogues of time – is but a symbol constructed of more symbols in a vain attempt to capture the essence of the one true universal poetry – that which can never be adequately expressed except in the experience of being.

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