Expressing the Inexpressible

I love the beach...

Here is a confession: I am not a life long poetry lover.  Funny thing, my mother is a poet and has written poetry her whole life, having a some published and even having an internationally known composer use some of her poems for art songs.  But me?  No, I’ve never been much of a poetry lover.

“But Trent,” you say, “you post a new poem every week on your blog!  You read other people’s poems and make nice comments.  Are you hypocrite, just writing and saying things for some evil purpose?”

Of course not.

I’ve said in the past that I write poetry to help me when I write prose.  I think some of the best prose reads almost like poetry.  Sometimes it is interesting to have metaphor, symbolism, simile, allusion, etc.  in prose writing.  Sometimes it’s nice to include rhythm in a story.  Writing poetry helps exercise certain mental, writing muscles that can be used in other contexts.

But I also have learned to appreciate poetry for it’s own sake.  In particular I enjoy reading poetry written by people I know, even if I know them just from the blogs.  And I enjoy trying new ways to express myself by writing new poems. I have found that it is possible for a poem to say things that words can’t express.  That is, a poem can express the inexpressible.

I think it is better to show you what I mean than try to describe it.  After all , if a poem can describe the inexpressible and I have a hard time expressing what I mean, I need to turn to poetry, right? ;)

I tried an experiment on Tuesday, but I’m going to take it farther and show more examples.  For Tuesday’s experiment, how do you write about a fresh love,one that dominates everything?  An obsession?  This isn’t my best poem, but does it work?  (If you missed it, the poem I Think of You).

OK, so now I am stewing on something and the more I think about it the madder I get.  It’s  out of control.  Sound boring?  Read The Black Spiral and let me know.

I’m depressed because someone I love has died.   Again, doesn’t say much. Let’s try the poem Everyone a Star.

Thinking of stars, I once wanted to describe depression, not sadness but emptiness, and of course, turned it into a love poem ;) .  So, does Your Sun describe it better than just saying “I’m depressed but you can make me happy”?

Here is the same as the last but from the other point of view (most of my poems about being down, sad or depressed are from the point of view of “you” being down and I want to help).  What do you think of Limboland Blues?

I picked these poems almost randomly and I may have expressed these feelings, better elsewhere, but the idea is that I never would have or could have expressed these same ideas in simple prose, they needed to be written as poems.  Did you read them?  Do you agree?  can they be written as meaningfully in prose?

Next step – I want to write some prose examples to prove this wrong ;)  I want to express it in a story.

 

 

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18 thoughts on “Expressing the Inexpressible

  1. kertsen

    Astronomy screams at me from your poems and drawings . We are lucky to have Hubble images and all the modern jargon to paste into our outpouring today. Astronomers don’t look through telescopes and Hubble stares for hours or days to get those images we would be entitled to ask are they real? Poetry is word pattern that sticks in the mind most people can quote a line or two . Prose is very different it paints a picture story that we travel through having our emotions stirred as we go. Perhaps the ballad is the combination a story in strict rhyme.
    Songs often take this form ‘ Its been a hard day’s night etc.

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  2. Pingback: If We Were Having Coffee on the Tenth of September | Trent's World (the Blog)

  3. Pingback: Expressing the Inexpressible Part 2 | Trent's World (the Blog)

  4. Zee

    I have to admit I used to be the same. Never was big on poetry. Mainly because it used to fly over my head, never could understand it as deeply. But I guess as I changed drastically as a person, so did my taste in reading. You can never guess from what I write now, that I used to be the same person who never even understood poetry. From what I’ve learned poetry is spontaneous and it comes from within and naturally. Nothing can replace that “feeling” really…

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Yep, I get it. I will admit, though, that I sometimes “manipulate” those things by drawing on past experience with the feelings and then trying to recreate them in a poem. But usually the honest ones are best :)

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          Thanks. It’s that way for my fiction, of course. A lot of it is drawn from personal experience but then changed, embellished, manipulated, etc. to create something new, not just a boring autobiographical sketch.

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            1. trentpmcd Post author

              Thanks Zee! I like to think of myself as “creative person”, but then again, I like to think of myself as a sexy rock star and that just ain’t happening 😎😎😄😜😜😝 I couldn’t resist😉 I even pulled out my Kindle for this comment….

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  5. Lori Ono

    Oscar Wilde’s Poetry in Prose changed my life.

    Interesting to read a poetry post today. Seems the universe is grooving on a poetry vibe lately. I submitted some poems I wrote to a quarterly today. No idea what will come of it but it’s a big step for me. Total jelly fingers filling in the Submittable form. Maybe because it’s so much on my mind, but I see poetry related things everywhere.

    Have you heard of taiga? Merging haiku and photos.

    L

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I’ve read some Oscar Wilde, of course starting with The Picture of Dorian Gray, but I haven’t read his Poetry in Prose. Something to add to my reading list.
      I’ve been discussing poetry with a few blog friends, which is why this came up. As i said in the post, I’ve been trying to post a new poem every week, but I don’t think they are great works, just exercises to get my “poetry blood” flowing.
      Good luck with the poems you submitted.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I get it. I try to keep a clean slate when I experience something new and I try to only judge music, writing, etc in their own terms. For instance, how do you compare Josquin des Prez to Beethoven? The scales and instruments Beethoven used didn’t even exist in the 16th century. Even comparing Josquin to Palestrina is impossible even though they lived in sort of the same era, they are just so different. Now try comparing them with an American master of counterpoint, Elliot Carter (passed away 4 years ago). The distance in music is a million times greater than the distance between Beethoven and Elvis, totally, completely impossible to compare. (Yes, I have CDs from over 250 different composers in my collection). For me its the same with any art. It speaks to me or it doesn’t. Sometimes a very simple poem by a friend speaks to me much much more loudly than Keats or Wadsworth or Frost or whoever. Now talk about wine – I’m a huge wine snob ;)

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      1. nonsmokingladybug

        I grew up with classical music, learned poems from Goethe and Schiller in school and was tortured with Homer and Socrates.
        I thought I had to follow rules. Listened to music everybody else was listening to, read what everybody else was reading.
        Then, in my early 30’s I defined my own taste in all aspects of life. I dress the way I like, I listen to Tom Waits as much as I listen to Schubert. I think I call myself a snob, because I learned to march to the rhythm of my own drum.
        Some things speak to me and capture me, others bore me senseless. It can’t be explained, there is no logic to it.

        As for being a wine snob -certainly :-)

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          I might just listen to more Tom Waits than Schubert, but that’s just me ;) Your own taste and marching (or dancing when marching gets boring) to your own drummer is, to me, what life is all about. And yes, somethings speak to us and some not and what speaks to you may be very different than what speaks to me. Though I do hope you enjoy a fine Bordeaux ;)

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          1. nonsmokingladybug

            I love Italian red wines, enjoy Australian and African Shiraz and sometimes when I can find it a good Bordeaux.
            I gave up cigarettes and coffee, I can’t eat dairy products anymore and I am on my way to become a vegetarian but I will be damned if I EVER give up my wine. NEVER!

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