Thursday, September 25, 2014


image borrowed from bing


“Let your soul stand cool & composed
before a million universes.”--Walt Whitman.

For me,
hell, for most
of us, while studying 
poetry in English class, it all
seemed so sappy, so effeminate; nothing
but forced rhymes, fey pale-skinned observances
about unrealistic romantic clap-trap, or a
bunch of dumb odes to nature and 
religion, written most of the
time by someone in the
privileged class.                                                                                                 But then
                                                                                               we discovered Whitman,
                                                                                        & it was like we were struck
                                                                            by language lightning--wow, we found
                                                                    our Champion, our earthly Liberator, finding
                                                         out that prose was never in dire conflict with form;
                                                          Christ, no, prose became our beloved foundation
                                                                    --the fallow ground, the fecund passionate
                                                                               pod our new poetics could blossom
                                                                                                              brightly out of.
And of course,
this dazzling journey
soon led us happily to the
Beat Generation, to the muscular
poetry of protest, where one’s own truth,
one’s literary essence could be cheerfully revealed,
exorcized, flexed, displayed, and yes,
promulgated as we nearly all
lost our voices screaming
with joy.  
                                                                    So many
                                                           of us really felt
                                                   this was our personal
                                            discovery, our very private
                            ephinany, that somehow validated our
                      gnawing need to write "poetry", but enabled
                           us to do so by unleashing our rebellious
                                     spirit, to pull the nets down, to
                                          trample antiquated fences &
                                            hoary parameters, to finally
                                               fully embrace our raging
                                                   outlaw sensibilities.

Years slipped                                                                              
by & prose poems began
to pile up in dusty corners, ring bound
folders, cigar boxes & wooden file cabinets,
& later in computer documents, &
how proud we were when they
numbered in the hundreds,
& for some of us, the
thousands.                                                           Our computers
                                                               enabled us to reach out
                                                  to countless poets everywhere,
                                    to join groups, to take part in reciprocal
                              readership--but then an odd thing began to
                          take shape as our poetic education started to
                                       expand, we found ourselves exposed
                                             to and began to participate within
                                                         various compelling classic
I laugh
now as I recall
those first timid forays
into myriads of corseted forms,
those nagging feelings of inadequacy, ineptness,
failure--that ever so slowly were overcome with modest
successes & a broadened knowledge base
as various talented & better educated
poets patiently shared their
extensive expertise.                                                         My God,
                                                                        the forms seemed 
                                                              to be endless, & yet with
                                                each attempt I began to feel more
                                      confident, empowered, enlightened as I
                              actually wrote poetry with classical structures;
                    Sonnet, Sestina, Villanelle, Pantoum, Rondeau, Ode,
                                   Tanka, Haiku, Lune, Ghazal,Triolet, Renga
                                                Epistle, Sapphic, Cinquain, Terza--
                                                              Rima, Haibun, & the Bop.
Am I
now a better
poet for being brave
enough to expand my homegrown
horizons?  I would certainly like to think so, as my
lovely Muses appear in togas, armor, robes
& hooped skirts, & my very own poetics
can now flourish & appear from out
of a palpable plethora of classic
diversity. Who knew?

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets MTB  

Would you like to hear the author read this Falling Diamonds poem to you?                                                                   


Björn Rudberg said...

Ha.. love the journey you took us here.. for me the form has been a wonderful path into the free.. where the iambs still pour free and march into my prose.. and even blank-verse can look free.. or free-verse is a sonnet.. all thanks to the community of online writing...

Claudia said...

very cool glenn... for me my poetic journey started with goethe's erlking...ha...that is what they teach german kids in fourth grade - you won't believe it... love how poetry always mirrors and also comments the time it is written in - and glad for the internet that makes it so easy to share

Glenn Buttkus said...

Bjorn & Claudia, how kind you are not to point dramatically at my less than accurate rendering of Gay's prompt; but when one looks at the technical challenges of printing up the opposing stanzas, with my own misunderstanding of the specificity of the form, this piece is not half bad; kind of my own invention, as it were.

Beachanny said...

Yes - it is your own (why would it be otherwise? you are unique to the 9th power). Well it's fine as it is. Still a bummer it wouldn't right/left align but I saw where you were going.

If you wanted to make it conform (and heaven knows I wouldn't demand it), it wouldn't take much. It needs the two syllable lines to rhyme, and a closer look at syllable count. There's a lot of iambic feet here to be going on with, and more importantly it's the flow and energy of your own voice. It says a lot of the things I wanted to cover in mine. Yours didn't feel as constrained as mine. I had pages & pages of notes and felt I had to pull the arguments back to 3 diamond panes each.

I like this, I think you could fiddle around and do stuff with it. To begin with, since it's one viewpoint, you could just center it and see what you think.

Thanks for taking the challenge Glenn. You're a great sport, and supporter of dVerse and we all appreciate that.

RMP said...

hmm...I imagine many, myself included, have traveled a similar journey through the poetic world. I don't believe when I was younger that I would ever find myself conforming to form.

Heaven said...

I can relate to your journey Glenn ~ When I first started I knew nothing about form nor rhyme ~ But blogging has been a savior and I now relish the challenge of writing to form, at least I try, smiles ~

seasideauthor said...

Our lives in a year or the diamonds in the lives of a
poet.Unleashing our rebellious and apparently
all of our idealistic "romantic expectations".
Our oh yes most of us. Well done!
Splitting diamonds very
creative. Going
to try one.

Kathy said...

You always fill us in when there are any gray areas and what you say is true...time influences a lot of poetry and so it goes with trying new forms. As Gay said, it's your form if you want to play with it and make it your own...and you certainly did a good job, but what is a Bop?