Monday, November 21, 2011

boxing poets

most people don't think
about poets. no reason to.
so many more urgent matters
to attend to.

some people who do think
about poets like to box
them up. this

poet's in the small-press
box, that one's in the gilded
box of anthologized fame,
this one is political, that
one performs, this one's
of the street, that one
from the colleges, this one
is Great, that one must
not be thought of as Great.

some boxes, history
made. we can keep
some of those, let others
of them go. we'll use
our judgment, our
experience. we mustn't
not own up to history--
that is the main thing.

the rest of the boxes,
we can throw out. a
person either writes
poetry, or doesn't,
and the most recent poem
is the kind of poetry
the person writes.

poems don't go to
college or teach there.
they don't drink wine
or work as fry-cooks or
go to war or lie down
for peace and get kicked.

of course, many poets
are only too eager to
jump in a box or push
another poet in a box
because poets are just as
stupid as other people
and often more so.

if you're a poet and
are eager to categorize
yourself and other poets,
you probably need to
settle down.

write a poem. or don't.
read one. or don't.

start from there. work
your way forward. take
your time. surprise yourself.

try this: write one word.
what kind of poet does that
word make you? really?

Copyright Hans Ostrom
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