One of the nice things about NaPoWriMo is that it sometimes makes poets out of ordinary civilians. I think it’s grand — I wish everyone would write poetry.
I had a funny conversation with a friend who is writing poems this month. She’s a short story writer. I’ve had this conversation many times before. It goes something like “man, I sure do like some poetry, but I don’t know anything about it, you know, I don’t get it at all.”
I was trying to decide where this idea started that poetry is something mystical and opaque. I pointed out to my friend that poems, not short stories or novels, are closest to the way we tell stories to each other. Most people when they tell a friend about something unusual will strip their story down to the most important and interesting details. They will not always use complete sentences, and they will speak in a casual and free tone with their particular voice. They’ll allow themselves unusual asides and digressions as they see fit. This is a poem.
I think I could teach anyone to write a passable poem in less than ninety minutes.
When I was thinking about poems and conversations, it occurred to me that when we exchange stories they might be metaphorically linked to each other. But that was hours ago in the shower, when everything was so much clearer. I’ll have to think about it some more.