I will start off by admitting upfront that I went through a phase where I found myself looking at my own poetry and saying I was going to quit that art form forever and I don't mean all types of writing just poetry. For a while I instinctively found myself going back to my influences whenever I wasn't busy with something else (written and non-written since my influences are a mix of both). Two thoughts came to mind recently: "why did I stop experimenting with that format," and: "what the heck was I thinking when I decided to quit". I'm not really trying for a traditional poem, in fact I'm not even trying to write a "beautiful" poem I just tell stories in whatever format seems right at the time. I'm a storyteller and I don't really stick to one genre and I either write about it or, whenever I get the opportunity to participate in a theatre show in some capacity I'm telling stories in a brand new medium even if I'm participating in a story that is not technically my own.
Recently I've been listening to a lot of Billy Childish, a poet/painter/musician who happens to be dyslexic writes poetry that doesn't really fit the traditional definition of poetry that we are all taught in school. They are stories with a dead-pan, sometimes funny insight into the flaws of the modern, western art world and the participants in Billy's past and present life. Billy's poems are loosely rhythmic and still have a poetic quality to them but they are unlike any other poem I have seen before and probably no one else as well. The closest I can possibly get to comparing Billy Childish's poems are the poems of Gertrude Stein (I think I'm spelling that right but I'm not sure because I have trouble spelling her name correctly) an experimental poet that I had the pleasure of studying in a university poetry class last semester but I'm pretty sure Billy Childish would hate these types of comparisons. I recommend looking Billy Childish up on youtube because he's got a great stage presence, is a really good quality storyteller, and he has a lot of interesting things to say. Part of what draws me to the works of Billy Childish is that he brings a perspective to poetry (and art) that I feel so lucky to be exposed to, one so unlike anything I've ever seen before. I'd explain it but his poems about art explain it better than I ever could. Billy, in all honesty impacted and influenced me quite a bit, like all my other influences did and I'll never forget the day where I sat still and listened to a CD of his poetry from start to finish.
Whenever I choose to write a poem instead of telling the story in some other medium it is a way of recording that sketch that will lead to a finished picture in the distant future but once that poem is there and in a final version it doesn't stop at that poem it will probably find a way into something else in the distant future and sometimes I don't even realize that. I have high respect for poetry as a written medium but I despise the fact that we are conditioned to impose specific limitations on what makes a poem a poem. The poem that I think will forever stick with me and have now read dozens and dozens of times because it is...well... traditional poetry at it's best in my opinion: "The Love Song Of J.Alfred Prufrock" By: T.S Eliot.
I will finish off the blog entry by adding a youtube link to a Billy Childish piece. It's called "Chatham Town Welcomes Desperate Men":