Poets don’t live in a vacuum.
Poetry is not written in a vacuum.
There is always a context, a social context, and always a biography.
I’ve been thinking about this in the context of this blog. Here I publish some of my poetry.
I started sharing some poems here in 2006.
Then the poems were put in a context. They were displayed in a context because, at the same time, I wrote about my experience of coming back to Ireland from the UK. I wrote blog-posts about what it was like to have an infant daughter. I expressed my take on several political issues.
The poems were never displayed in a vacuum.
It’s bothered me now. Since I relaunched “From Bath to Cork with baby Grace” [in its second form] the poems have been published without any context.
There’s no writing here about big social issues. I don’t write about my family, nor about housework, golf, podcasting, social media, nor my paid work.
You meet the poems as you would meet them in a poetry book.
And I don’t think this good enough.
I think readers are very interested in the context of a poem – as reflected in the other things the poet is doing in her or his life – how the poet sees things, how the poet reports on what is noticed.
I think readers of poetry – like everybody else- are more & more curious about what goes on behind the scenes – in the behaviour, mind, emotions and imaginations of writers.
Also I may be enriched by writing about the “world”. I use that world to symbolise the Universe – as I’m capable or motivated to communicate about it. Even communicate with myself about it.
So I’ve made a decision. [I’m going to sleep on it.]
I’m going to add prose on this blog.
I’m going to write freely on any topic under the sun that interests me on the particular day I sit down to write. They may be disconnected sentences. Pieces may be highly structured. There might be a short story – even a vignette. Probably not a novella.
I may rant.
But above all, it will be me. It’ll be my take on something that’s much bigger than me.
[Reader’s can skip all that prose, or quasi- poetic stuff, if they’re not interested.]
The poems will be obvious. It’ll mean there’ll be more stuff here than before.
It’ll mean I can also put up photographs with very little commentary. Many people are visual – rather than text lovers. The visual imagination – or the imaginations of visual people – is every bit as valuable as the imaginations of those who approach the world with preference for sound or text.
There’s a way in which it’ll do me good to write prose. There’s a possibility it’ll help me feel some issues I write about are vital enough to be encapsulated & addressed in poetry.
I’m going to sleep on this now.
For me, this is a very big issue. Perhaps I’m I’m going to break & remake the character of this blog.
But it feels like the right thing to do.
However, you never know what a good sleep can do to a right thing.