It’s All Good Poetry

I contemplated getting a tattoo of the phrase “It’s all good poetry”, not because I’m a huge fan of the technicalities or history of poetry, I’m not. I couldn’t name many famous poets, or properly dissect a poem, but I’ve written and read them for the majority of my life. I’m not fascinated by many things that those who study poetry must be fascinated by. I have only ever been interested in what a poem is saying and how it makes me feel.  Getting back to the tattoo, I like to believe that people think in certain ways, for example a scientist can find the science of a situation, a businessperson the business, a philosopher the philosophy, and congruently the poet finds the poetry. And so my mantra “It’s all good poetry” refers to life in its entirety, good, bad or in between, it all makes for good poetry.

I carry some of my life in a journal you’d be hard-pressed to find me anywhere without. I can’t tell you when I started carrying it around, but it’s become a ubiquitous part of my daily life. It is filled with a number of short poems of mine and other authors, drawings of my favorite Naruto characters, my favorite quotes, the lyrics to songs that I’ve rewritten in a poetic format, letters to lovers and my therapist, small drawings accompanying the contents of the pages, a few photographs, the prayer card of a friend who passed away recently, and finally a page at the very end entitled “Things I’ve Done But Am Already Forgetting I’ve Done.” After reading some of the other posts about sources of poetic content, my journal was the first thing that came to mind. All of the things in my journal are things that have broken me open at some point, and additionally exemplify how the sources of poetry are so varied and seemingly infinite. Frankly, I look forward to two things this semester: Learning to write about more things and learning to love poetry more.

2 Replies to “It’s All Good Poetry”

  1. Hi Davina!
    We had Beth’s Morrison class together last semester, and I saw you scribbling in your notebook a few times. I think it’s awesome that you always have it with you, and always find something to write in it. I also always have a notebook with me, but I don’t get the chance to write in it as often as I want to. Do you write every single day? If so, how did you get into that habit? I think I’m making this a goal for myself this semester.
    I love the line “it’s all good poetry.” You interpretation of the quote reminds me of Maggie Smith’s “Good Bones.” Have you read that poem? I’ll paste it here in case you haven’t:

    Good Bones
    Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
    Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
    in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
    a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
    I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
    fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
    estimate, though I keep this from my children.
    For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
    For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
    sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
    is at least half terrible, and for every kind
    stranger, there is one who would break you,
    though I keep this from my children. I am trying
    to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
    walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
    about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
    right? You could make this place beautiful.

    I love this poem, not only because of how uplifting it is at the end, but also because it is so REAL. Even though it discusses unpleasant happenings in the world, there is something good that can come from the unpleasant. I think the quote “It’s all good poetry” says this as well.
    I look forward to reading your work!

  2. Hey, Davina! Thanks for this post.

    First, I think that keeping a journal is a great hobby, particularly because it gets you into the habit of writing every day. When I don’t write every day, I find it a lot harder to ‘get back into it’ when I have the urge again. It’s great that not only do you record what inspires you inside your journal, but also that your journal itself inspires you.

    Second, the quote “it’s all good poetry” reminded me of more soft-spoken themed poetry, poems that are simple and do not feel forced or heavy handed. I recently discovered the author Richard Brautigan, and what most attracted me to his writing was his ability to capture the chaos of humanity and our emotions within a stagnant, ordinary scene. It makes you want to get more out of everything you see or encounter in a given day. He also writes poems, though, and I’d recommend them to you if you want to see this simplicity too. It really seems like it echos your mantra. Check out “Seven Watermelon Suns.”

    Another poet I’d like to recommend is Charles Simic! The collection, “Sixty Poems” (2008) contains his best work and is a great start.
    There is something that continues to draw me to his style, which both inspires and silences. Simic makes even the most ordinary observations into an extraordinary statement on existence. Here’s a poem from that collection:

    “Mirrors at 4am ”

    You must come to them sideways
    In rooms webbed in shadow,
    Sneak a view of their emptiness
    Without them catching
    A glimpse of you in return.

    The secret is,
    Even the empty bed is a burden to them,
    A pretense.
    They are more themselves keeping
    The company of a blank wall,
    The company of time and eternity

    Which, begging your pardon,
    Cast no image
    As they admire themselves in the mirror,
    While you stand to the side
    Pulling a hanky out
    To wipe your brow surreptitiously.

    I look forward to working with you this semester! Thanks for sharing this post!


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