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Ken Honeywell

Ken Honeywell
Location
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Birthday
March 20
Title
Partner
Company
Well Done Marketing
Bio
I'm in love with my wife; a writer and producer living in Indianapolis; partner at Well Done Marketing; founder of Tonic Ball, a benefit concert that's become one of the city's favorite annual events; co-founder of Second Story, a creative writing program for kids; a vegetarian; lead singer of Yoko Moment; a life-long New York Mets fan; a sucker for waltz time; crazy about Pernice Brothers; etc.

MY RECENT POSTS

MAY 9, 2011 6:26AM

Dear Open Salon Poets: Please Read Poetry

Rate: 27 Flag

Lately I’ve felt the need to be in closer touch with poetry. The best way I know to achieve my goal is to read a lot of poetry–and to reread Edward Hirsch‘s excellent How To Read A Poem (And Fall In Love With Poetry)You’ll get more out of the book if you know a bit about poetry; Hirsch is a scholar and assumes you can match his stride in his romp through centuries of verse. But How To Read A Poem is written is a style that’s accessible for novices, too, and his enthusiasm for poetry will make you wish you’d read more.

The idea of reading poetry reminded me of a minor kerfuffle I stoked somewhere on Open Salon a year or so ago. Someone–I forget whom–claimed to love writing poetry, but hated reading it. I objected. I claimed that to presume one could write excellent poetry without any knowledge of poetry was arrogant–at best, misguided. I mentioned that I believed this was one of the things that was wrong with most of the poetry I read online: its writers never read any poetry.

I’m on record as believing that, when novices praise the writing of novices, they’re not really praising the writing so much as the person or the sentiment; sometimes, “that’s an amazing poem” really means “I like you and I feel your pain.” The poem itself might be pedestrian or worse. But author who’s expressed him- or herself through sloppy blank verse or unmetered rhyme receives validation.

That’s all well and good–unless you pay too much attention to the praise and think that just because people have flattered your

"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"

poetry, you’re a champion poet. You’re actually more like a kid who dumps flour and eggs into a bowl and calls it a cake: all the ingredients are there, but the art and science of baking have been completely ignored.

“Every poet learns to write by imitation,” writes ex-Poet Laureate Ted Kooser in his excellent book The Poetry Home Repair Manual“just as every painter learns to paint by looking at paintings.” I’m afraid Mr. Kooser is living in the past. Today, the fact that everyone can have a blog means that everyone can be a self-published poet regardless of whether he or she has ever laid eyes on another poem.

Unfortunately, most people don’t read much poetry. Most people “don’t have time” for poetry. Lots of people think “great” poetry must be obtuse or opaque, and they don’t have the patience to sort out the meaning.

I think that’s a shame. Most poems don’t take much time to read, and reading poetry can make your life better. Poetry can connect you with deep wells of emotion, can help you understand the world and your place in it more clearly. Poetry can put you in touch with your love, your sorrow, your longing, your joy, your fear. Your mortality.

It should go without saying that reading poetry can also make you a better poet. Reading poetry puts you in a poetic frame of mind. Even if the “meaning” of the poetry you’re reading is not immediately clear, you catch the rhythm, the flow. Your mind catches on the words. Your brain may resist, but your soul gets it.

“You say you don’t understand Dylan Thomas?” writes the great Ray Bradbury in Zen in the Art of Writing. “Yes, but your ganglion does, and your secret wits, and all your unborn children. Read him, as you can read a horse with your eyes, set free and charging over an endless green meadow on a windy day.”

Need poetry that’s more accessible? Read Ted Kooser. Read Billy Collins. Read the delightful poetry of John Updike. And, for goodness’ sake, read Shakespeare and Keats and ShelleyWalt WhitmanEmily DickinsonJames Wrighte.e. cummingsElizabeth BishopDelmore SchwartzSylvia PlathAllen GinsbergPhilip Larkin, the excellent Indiana poet Jared Carter. I have a great affinity for Polish post-war poets, including Czeslaw Milosz and Wislawa Szymborska. Pick up your Bible and read Song of Songs.There’s so much amazing poetry in the world that you’ll never run out of great things to read.

And then–please–write poetry. I’ll let Ted Kooser have the last word:

“Considering the ways in which so many of us waste our time, what would be wrong with a world in which everybody were writing poems? After all, there’s a significant service to humanity in spending time doing no harm. While you’re writing your poem, there’s one less scoundrel in the world. And I’d like a world, wouldn’t you, in which people actually took time to think about what they were saying? It would be, I’m certain, a more peaceful, more reasonable place. I don’t think there could ever be too many poets. By writing poetry, even those poems that fail and fail miserably, we honor and affirm life. We say ‘We loved the earth but could not stay.’”

Photo: istockphoto.com. 

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And, yes, please read the excellent poets here at OS. But follow one of the links above and read someone else, too.
And please read this fine example of poetry, found on a recent Mother's Day card:

I love you
You love books
Cows say Moo
And then eat snooks!

Now there's a poet laureate in the making, or at the very least, an advertising copywriter. I have no idea what a "snook" is, so don't ask.
In all seriousness, I thought I was a poet when I was in my teens, and wrote all sorts of anguished lines of crap. When I got to college and had to read some of the poets you mention above, I suddenly realized that I didn't like reading poetry. The cognitive dissonance caused me to stop writing "poetry" completely. I now take satisfaction in recognizing this as my greatest contribution to making the world a better place.

Part of the problem is that poetry is taught in schools as a liberating art form where the absence of rules means your poem is equally as good as mine, and is therefore accepted without criticism or reservation. Maybe that's the way to start, but now that we are no longer children, we put away childish things--or at least that's how it s'posta be.
Is turn about fair play too, all I ever want to read is poetry, I really have to gather strength to read fiction or recently, a novel. I am glad you feel perhaps there will be improvement through something that to me, is akin to seeing a night sky or laying in fragrant grass in summer. Thank you for the link on the book about poetry, will check it out.
Indeed. Read read read if you want to write write write.
Mary Oliver, Pablo Neruda, Shakespeare's sonnets......ahhhhhhhh.
Snippy: Agree to a degree. I think introducing kids to writing poetry as a kind of liberation is a great thing. The problem is that it all falls apart after that. Also: I have read your poetry. You could have been a contender. But good on you to realize you didn't like it.

rita: It's a wonderful book, as is Kooser's, as is Bradbury's. And I've never doubted for a moment that you read reams of poetry.

Kathy: written by one who knows.

Ann: Yep. Please pile on. All favorite poets welcome here.
Jacques Prevert, and for the hippies, Richard Brautigan. David Budbill–everyone should go this minute and read the "First Green of Spring", and in my humblest opinion, the best poem ever written by a living poet is "Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island Minnesota", by William Carpenter. That dude owns me!
You make me want to get a book of poems to hold dear. There are some books that are nice to have around like friends. I loved the Beat Poets and good ol' Robert Frost. EE Cummings was a favorite. Gary Snyder gave a talk and won me over to his poetry.
There is only one thing I would disagree about. All poets have to follow their own heart. It isn't from reading that you learn to write, it is from following your own muse. Reading and School can help but they are not a prerequisite and can sometimes get in the way or squelch your love of literature of all kinds.
Thank you for this post.
Well said, and needed saying. Poetry is the most abused/least consumed literary form. Everybody wants to be a poet, from the CEO who composes a limerick for the annual company picnic to the hypersensitive souls on another site I frequent who think that because they have felt, they have expressed. There are some good poets on OS.
I appreciate this post.

Here's some links to poetry books I've read (am reading).

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Nature-Centuries-African-American/dp/0820334316

http://www.amazon.com/nappy-edges-Ntozake-Shange/dp/0312064241

http://www.amazon.com/Omeros-Derek-Walcott/dp/0374523509

http://www.amazon.com/Loose-Woman-Poems-Sandra-Cisneros/dp/0679755276/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_6
Agreed...Read if you dare to write. I am currently engrossed in Geoffrey Chaucer and Twain and Sandburg...and Pat Conroy. It doesn't matter. Inspiration comes in many forms.
And oh God, Pablo Neruda. Magnificent poetry will raise you up both in spirit and what you commit to words.
I always have and always will. Thanks for the list though.
Thank you Ken, you have some keen insights here and I trust your thinking because I enjoy what you write so much. I agree that the praise for poetry is more often an affirmation of friendship here on OS, but there are quite a few who stand out. Scupper is consistently outstanding, as is the fabulous linguistic architectural and delightful constructions of mhold. For myself, and outside of OS, my favorite has long been Gerard Manly Hopkins, his Pied Beauty and The Windhover remain personal touchstones that have always floored me...even now as I have evolved into a benign agnostic, they still thrall.

Thanks Ken.
I don't know that I'll read enough to make me a better poet, but I probably won't quit writing it either.

For those who may read these comments who are intrigued about buying a book of verse I will second your recommendation of Whitman. Everyone should own Leaves of Grass and should refer to it often. Also, I'd like to recommend a collection of the works of Edna St Vincent-Millay. I wear the cover off that one. Lastly, I recently bought the American Bible of Outlaw Poetry. It is thrilling in its freedom, but there is real quality there, not mere "unbaked" sentiment.

I do completely agree about reading to better understand your craft. That is, in fact, exactly why I have the books of poetry I do own. That is also why I will probably own in the near future the titles you suggested here (which sound fascinating and which I never would have discovered on my own, so thank you!). Yet your post gave no account for another reason that amateur poetry gets written by writers who never aspire to be better poets. Many of us were creatively and emotionally stunted by dysfunction in our past that we managed to survive and we are now just learning how to express ourselves in voices that are, maybe for the first time in our lives, truly our own (not measured by what someone else will think is valid or not). For some, this effort represents a courage to find an honest self that will never amount to literary merit, but is meritorious for all that it flies in the face of. This poetry I cannot discour
yes, ken. i was an avid reader who skipped poetry for a long time, thinking people who wrote poetry and read it knew some secret i wasn't in on, especially about poetry that's what i call MFA poetry. i realized that loving some poetry and not other is like loving peaches but not grapes; it's just a matter of taste and finding the right thing.

here's a great site and a poet i love: "A Cup of Poetry - Barbara Ras "The Last Skin"
...discourage. Much of my own poetry here at OS is exactly of this sort. Much I have read here is similarly themed. These writers inspire my as much as the literary ones do. The hold a torch along a path I have been setting my feet to for some time now. I know I could not find my way without them.

Anyway, any post about poetry is welcome, especially about the merits of the masters. I couldn't find my way without them as well.

Rated with enthusiasm.
WRITING


I am the instrument of grammar,
I am the tool of ringing rhyme.
Alliteration is my hammer
That beats the rhythm to the time.

To open some forbidden door
And let the strange ideas come through
Use, for a key, a metaphor,
Or, a simile might do.

All language is a puzzle
To be solved by fitted words
That come to nest and nuzzle
And fly away like birds.
One of my favorite quotes about poetry comes from Adrienne Rich in her "Poetry and Commitment."

"I hope never to idealize poetry - it has suffered enough from that."

"Poetry is not a healing lotion, an emotional massage, a kind of linguistic aromatherapy. Neither is it a blueprint, nor instruction manual, nor a billboard."
I would go one step further and say reading and writing poetry makes one a better writer. In my experience it makes me stretch for description limited in fiction or non-fiction. I love the irony of your post since I'm planning to post one Tuesday or Wednesday! Thanks for your suggestions!
R
I am not an expert. I am not a scholar. I like to write what I may think is poetry and not anyone can say no I shouldn't. A few people seem to like what I write. That's nice, but that's not why I write. I write because I enjoy language and words and different ways to say things that may have multiple meanings. Sometimes poems can be put together like puzzles with various intricate schemes and sometimes these are fun and sometimes they are merely a burdensome trick and a total bore. Robert Frost once said that writing free verse is like playing tennis without the net and e.e.cummings countered that he thought Frost wrote poetry without balls. I enjoy them both. Frost also commented that he never knew how a poem would turn out when he wrote the first line. That happens with me too. A few striking words have a vital life of their own and they decide what universe they would venture into.
Jan, after reading your comment I find this to be one of those times I wish OS had a "like" button.
I do like a little style with my substance, but there are some major melody makers on this site.
My God! What a revolutionary thought! I wish only to add that if one wishes to write good prose, it would maybe be a good idea to read as much great prose as possible. But what do I know? It was only an idea.
Jan Sand, leave it to you to improve on birds and puzzles.

Stephen Dunn, Dessa, Cee-Lo Green, Lauryn Hill, Deborah Keenan, Giaconda Belli...it's true what you and the other poets say here, Ken. I would posit that hip hop and rap are great places for poetry as well, particulary for rhythm. Also, those are good place for when you just wanna mover el eskeleto, you know?
Ken,
There is some fantastic poetry on here. For over a month I video tpaed one each day and put it on the bottom of my blog. One of yours was used too.
The hits were awful.. No more than 10 people were looking at it and it was a lot of work.
It made me so sad. I felt bad for the low hits for the poets so I stopped.
Good on you for doing this.
rated with hugs
I will ask your forgiveness in advance for abusing your post with this diatribic commentary:

Wow!

Talk about getting metaphorically kicked in the teeth by someone you’ve grown to respect.

You don't often resort to Open Salon these days, so it’s always a treat for me when I see your by-line here, as I did today….only to find that, this time, I was the specific target of your umbrage.

You wrote:

“Someone–I forget whom–claimed to love writing poetry, but hated reading it. I objected. I claimed that to presume one could write excellent poetry without any knowledge of poetry was arrogant–at best, misguided. I mentioned that I believed this was one of the things that was wrong with most of the poetry I read online: its writers never read any poetry.”

It’s not often that you find yourself being taken to task so harshly by someone whose respect you thought you held.

I’ve tried to get myself off this hook by presuming that you were referring to someone else because I don’t really remember any imbroglio between us – any “minor kerfuffle,” as you puts it – on the subject of my dislove for contemporaneous poetry
.
But, regardless of whether I remember said kerfuffle or not – and I don’t – the fact remains that I said what you said that someone said and, in addition to being insulted that you didn’t remember who said it, I’m also miffed by the fact that you appear not to respect my poetic efforts, a statement at odds with things you have written about my poetry back when you were here at lot and I was writing a lot of poetry.

So you have come out with the opinion that people who write poetry but don't read are arrogant when they persist in writing it without reading it.

So be it. Writing poetry is an act of arrogance from the outset, being, as it is, an expression of the belief that your insights – or your expressions of your insights - are worthy of commemoration.

Of course it’s arrogant to believe that you have anything to add to the billions of lines of verse that have already been written….unless you take into account the role and function of poetry with respect to culture and society, and the necessity for the constant refreshment of the culture’s storehouse of poetic insights to reflect the times in which the readers live.

The problem with an undifferentiated culture – which is what the internet has thrust us into – is that the mediating function of literary criticism no longer exists.

The good part of this is that the absence of a layer of editors and agents who previously determined what would get published and what wouldn’t, and critics who determined who would get respect and who wouldn’t, has opened the realm of poetry to practitioners who would otherwise never get read….myself included.

The bad part is that, with the overwhelming plethora of material being published on a daily basis without the focusing lens of agents, editors and critics, it becomes impossible to separate the kernels from the chaff, which means that much of value gets lost in the deluge, since the floatsam and jetsam of cultural debris rises to the surface, because shit floats, while gold sinks.

In the daily rush of material here on Open Salon, I figure that a poem has a shelf-life of approximately 48 hours. With 6 million discrete visitors a month to this website, we have an average hourly attendance of 685 visitors per day, which is a really small potential readership, of which a really strong post might attract five percent of those visitors, or 13 readers, which is actually the average that my poems have earned me.

As a reader, I find it impossible to keep up with the poetic production published on OS, amid all the other concerns that impinge upon my easily distracted attention, which is why I appreciated Dave Rickerts’ Poetry Picks of the Week…but he stopped publishing his picks in February.

And since OS is merely a tiny microcosm of the whole internet wilderness, the competition for the collective attention of the internet is so intense that, nowadays, you have to compose yourself in 140 characters or less to break through the background noise…which means that, today, the haiku might be the ideal poetic format…and, of course, I hate haiku because of its restrictiveness.

Even more to the point, I am having increasing difficulty reading anything, so overwhelmed am I with inflooding data. I have dozens of partially read books lying around the house. I no longer dare to borrow books from the library because I never return them, and I no longer even attempt to read fiction. This might be a consequence of my political and philosophical obsessions….but I suspect that I merely full-up with what I’ve already read in a lifetime of obsessive reading.

What I should have said, Ken, is that I no longer read poetry, not that I have never read any. and, by the way, James Joyce is conspicuously absent from your list, which is a shame since he has written what are possibly the two longest poems in the English languages, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. (My undergraduate thesis was a proof of the argument that Ulysses and FW were actually epic prose poems and not novels at all.)

In a writing career of more than 40 years, I’ve never even attempted to get a poem published because, in the first place, there are so few places where poetry gets published these days and, in the second place, it doesn’t pay anything at all when you do get published. (I did get some poems published when I was in my teens, but it was in a high school literary magazine of which I was the editor.)

In contrast, my grandfather, who had only an eighth grade education, was a well-published poet, whose work has now been lost to us. Joseph Levy, also known as the Taxi Cab Poet of Brooklyn, published much doggerel in the now long-defunct Brooklyn Eagle, a rag once edited by a young Walt Whitman.

On second thought, maybe Ken wasn’t referring to me all because I’ve also said that I hate writing poetry because it’s an involuntary reflex to emotional impulses that earns me neither much respect nor any gelt in the process of writing it, in which case persisting jn the practice becomes an exercise of the ego and, hence, convicts me of Ken’s allegation of arrogance.

So, I guess I agree with you, Ken. I am an arrogant asshole. I can live with that for a few years more. After that, I think I will name you as my OS literary executor, which brings to mind the problem of whether and how to archive all of the excellent writing that has appeared here, rather than letting it evaporate into the vaporsphere after its 48 hour half-life has expired.

That should fix your wagon but good.
Also, be sure to listen to as many commercial jingles as possible. For example:

I want tuna
I want liver
I want chicken
Please deliver


And:

You can take Salem out of the country, but...
You can't take the country out of Salem
You can take Salem out of the country, but...


Or my favorite:

There's a secret cereal
Hidden in this song
See if you can understand
It won't take you long!
Crispy and elicious-day
For breakfast and for acking-snay
Made with real fruit avor-flay
Oot-fray Oops-lay!
I know what it means!


*YELLP*

These examples demonstrate that poetry is most truly the ambrosia in an otherwise drab life.

*YELLP*
And, okay, just add a little more confusion, somehow or other, I keep logging on as ThePoetryCorner, which was my ill-fated attempt to do what Dave Rickerts was doing. Let's play a guessing game. Who can identify me from that hint?

I didn't plan it, but, well, the fun of it attracts me.

Reminds me of another riddle, which might help, since I have published it before.

Last night, on the revived Law and Order, Criminal Intent, Bobby presents the famous two door riddle to a psychiatrist: The riddle is that there are two doors, one leads to heaven and the other to hell. There are two guardians. One must always lie, the other must always tell the truth. Using one question and one question only, how would you determine which door leads to heaven.

It has been an article of my self-esteem that I solved this riddle the first time I heard it in 30 seconds. (It was the freshman exam in logic at Harvard one year; I overheard two students talking about it while they were in my cab.)

They didn't blurt out the answer in last night's episode. I suspect that they will drag that out over the next seven episodes, but I will really hate it when they give out the solution. Ruins it for everyone.
Hey, everybody. Thanks for reading.

The Poetry Corner: Thanks for writing. I don't know your identity, but I'm sure you were not the person involved in said kerfuffle, and I'm sure that I meant every word of everything I ever wrote on your blog. I don't judge anyone by whether or not they read poetry. I like the writing I like, and good writing doesn't require any formal schooling. I'm sure you've read a lot of poetry. I'm sure your grandfather did, too. I assume by your comments that you read poetry on OS--and there are lots of great poets here. You don't have to read Shakespeare: you can read scupper or vanessa or consonantsandvowels or sagemerlin or Caroline Hagood or any number of a dozen other excellent poets who post here (and I'm sorry to all the excellent poets I've neglected to mention).

I agree with you: there are both good and bad consequences of the explosion of words online. Self-expression is up; quality is down.

In any case, no offense intended. I just think reading poetry is a pleasure, and I wish more people read it. Perhaps one reason no one can make a living as a poet is that no one thinks poetry is worth enough to buy the books. I think that's a shame. In fact, I'm betting that if you published a book of poems, I'd buy it.
I agree with you, like painting or really any of the arts, you must follow the masters, who will guide you by beating you over the head with their genius and humble you.

I consider myself maybe an almost bad poet. I consider myself a relatively lousy artist and I say this proudly. I don't use the word "poet" or "artist" lightly. I've earned the "artist" title. I've worked for it. I won't discuss my value or worth as an artist, only that I am. but poet is pretty new. I've always written poetry, off and on, but never focused on it. only now do I focus...so I'm working it. but not particularly well, I think. well..sometimes yes. I succeed in being poetic. but not necessarily writing a poem. big difference.

I confess I do not dedicate myself to the arts. I dedicate myself to living and art comes in there somewhere after the family but before the dogs....almost....no..gotta be honest here...after the dogs. so you see...I'm a failure. but a happy one. :)
I read poetry. my undies twist up with some of it. here's a pip by my man bukowski:


Are You Drinking?
washed-up, on shore, the old yellow notebook
out again
I write from the bed
as I did last
year.
will see the doctor,
Monday.
"yes, doctor, weak legs, vertigo, head-
aches and my back
hurts."
"are you drinking?" he will ask.
"are you getting your
exercise, your
vitamins?"
I think that I am just ill
with life, the same stale yet
fluctuating
factors.
even at the track
I watch the horses run by
and it seems
meaningless.
I leave early after buying tickets on the
remaining races.
"taking off?" asks the motel
clerk.
"yes, it's boring,"
I tell him.
"If you think it's boring
out there," he tells me, "you oughta be
back here."
so here I am
propped up against my pillows
again
just an old guy
just an old writer
with a yellow
notebook.
something is
walking across the
floor
toward
me.
oh, it's just
my cat
this
time.


okay. that was bukowski.

how about george whats his name, the actor who was so bored by life he wrote, "I"m bored" and killed himself.

you see, this is it, the meat of it...art is life or death. if you're not willing to push that around, not willing to suffer and sacrifice and humble and humiliate yourself by exposing your naughty bits, your raw insides and your nasty wrinkles, you're not quite there.

that's my take on it.
yup, bad poet here too.
and not gonna stop anytime soon :)
PS. I kind of agree with some of poetry corner.

you don't HAVE to read poetry to be a poet or write poetry. it helps, particularly if you're new at it, or want to have your face rubbed into the grit and essence of genius but otoh, if you are born with the soil and soul and genius imprinted into your dna, then you're one lucky son of a bitch and you should get on with the business of writing and fuck it.

plus it's not just bad poetry we have here on OS, we have an abundance of lousy writing as well. and I'm afraid that's as it should be, published, unpublished, blogs and/or scribbles on the walls of history.

you can't MAKE a poet or an artist, although the skills are attainable. the skills are only the learned tools to help you to do it quicker.

in other words, you don't need shit to make shinola.

look at the cave paintings of auroches in lascaux.

look and weep.
Will: you are not the first person to make that comment today. Over on Facebook, my friend Sarah Spykman--a Vineyarder--challenged everyone to write a poem rhyming "Vineyard" with something dirty. This is the best I could do:

There once was a woman in Gay Head
Who received all her beaus on her daybed.
She said, "On the Vineyard,
I've on-yer'd and in-yer'd
As you as you don't drive a moped."
Hmm. One can love writing, but not have people enjoy what they write. Isn't that the saddest thing? I do think we have a responsibility to read if we want to write, however.
i adore you for this.

Frost always said it is for other people to say who is and is not a poet. i like that idea.
One of my favorite poets Robert Pinsky adopted that idea when asked about calling himself a poet he said: "When it seems too elaborate or pretentious to avoid, I will use the word about myself, but I tend to be a little shy of it— almost superstitiously, to keep it sacred."

Anyone can call themselves a poet, but that doesn't make it so. I often get very strident about my ideas on poetry being a craft, with rules and guidelines that are more than just 'words from the heart'. But thats because like Mr. Pinsky, I believe that being a poet, and the crafting of words into poem is indeed just that...sacred.
"I’m on record as believing that, when novices praise the writing of novices, they’re not really praising the writing so much as the person or the sentiment; sometimes, “that’s an amazing poem” really means “I like you and I feel your pain.” The poem itself might be pedestrian or worse. But author who’s expressed him- or herself through sloppy blank verse or unmetered rhyme receives validation."

True of comments on prose, too, dontcha think?

And anyone who wants to learn about meter should read Poe.
So sorry I didn't read this until today, as I seem to have missed out on the action.

I find Ken's post constructively and legitimately provocative. Poetry as a phenomenon has evolved over the centuries as a synthesis of literary conventions, subversions, innovations, obliterations, convolutions, and manipulations. "Good" and "bad" are perhaps clumsy descriptions for poetic offerings, as any reception of a poem is colored by a reader's previous experience and understanding of poetry. Those steeped in the "masters," to echo a term in this discussion, have a decidedly different evaluation to offer from readers who are not as well read in the realm of poetry.

I do not accept some of academia's postmodern view that everything is indeterminate, including notions of good and bad literature. Lacking, however, any cosmic absolute of what constitutes good poetry, we have the ever-evolving and recently-mushrooming canon as a guide.

So much of what ThePoetryCorner wrote resonates with me. And frankly, I don't even trust the editors and reviewers anymore. In my judgment, much of the poetry that appears in the New Yorker, for example, is facile and pretentious. I weep for the far more imaginative poets whose work may not get published due to the vicissitudes of fashion and editorial preference. For this reason, I find myself reading current poetry only rarely. I have a wide spectrum of tastes for poets throughout the eras, from Catullus to Auden. Their work ought to keep me nourished for the forseeable future.

From time to time, however, I may just snack on some of the OS poets mentioned in the comments above. I am a relative newcomer, and I am rather curious.

My thanks to Ken for getting me to think more deeply on this matter.
Just to add a little more confusion to the alchemy, I decided to re-read this post, and the associated comments, because I found a long comment on this post in a draft (I always draft my longer comments in MS Word before I post them) and was checking to see whether I had ever actually posted it.

I had....creating a bit of a mystery because I posted my comment as The Poetry Corner, a pretentiously named blog that I started sometime back and promptly forgot about.

In looking over the following replies to my original comment, I was deeply gratified to see that Ken Honeywell had actually referred to me as one of the poets on OS that people should read.

This was even more gratifying because Ken wrote this in response to the comment I made as The Poetry Corner, without knowing my actual identity, or rather the one under which I post my poetry.

Then, to add some icing to the cake, several other comments also referenced my original comment....giving me a momentary glow of additional appreciatedness.

So, then, I thought that I would resolve the mystery I created by coming forth and naming myself, only to realize that I am currently writing under yet another one of my identities.

So, Ken, please forgive me. I think I'm going through an identity crisis because, to be honest about, I haven't felt any poetic impulses for quite some time now and it's starting to worry me.

I know you're a busy man, but we would like to see you around here more often.