Monday, November 17, 2008

Poetry Slam

I've started writing poetry. Don't ask.

I showed one of my first efforts to Ben, who sees everything before my writing group.

"It's good," he said.

"Really? It's, like, my first poem. Good? Really?"

"Yeah, it's good."

I basked in his praise for a few hours before I thought to ask a follow-up question.

"What, exactly, was good about it?"

"Your poem? I understood it."

"You understood it."

"Yeah, you know, some poems you can't understand. I was able to read yours."

"So your standard for 'good' in poetry is (a) written in the English language and (b) intelligible?"

"It makes me sound like a philistine when you put it that way."

I stopped basking and got back to work.


Michelle said...

The best advice I've ever heard about letting the loved ones see your work is that you have to train them to be "wonderful readers." That means you teach them to tell you what they're thinking at every moment. When did you lose interest? What was the most interesting part for you? When did you roll your eyes? When did you get weepy?

It sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but these readers can turn out to be the best guides for your work because they know you and because they can learn to be honest in a nice way.

Kevin said...

Can anyone possibly be a Philistine if they know the word "Philistine?"

He's clearly been reading Matthew Arnold.....

But seriously, the hardest part of my stint as an English teacher was trying to teach poetry to people who were not already drawn to it.