It Ain’t Poetry
© 2021 by Vernon Miles Kerr and VernonMilesKerr.com - Posted to Twitter in rough-draft on 11/28/2021
I write a daily “column” on twitter under the hashtag “#FirstCuppaJoe”. These are a report on my caffein-aided meditations each morning. What you might find each day is kind of “pot-luck” — Forrest Gump’s “box ’a choc-lits.”
Here’s one I posted today after thinking about my life-long struggle to become (actually) a poet.
#FirstCuppaJoe for 11/28 (thread)
My “caff-einspiration” this morning will probably sound pretty dumb to some ppl:
Ugh! The refuge of effete snobs and wanna-be effete snobs.
But I’ve been fascinated by poetry since high school. Well, actually, back there in Birmingham, Alabama during WWII, in my infancy, with all the men and boys in the neighborhood “over there” fighting the Nazis, I spent a lot of time on the laps of Mom, Grandma and bored, boy-less, teenaged girls, hearing the sing-song beat of nursery rhymes—over, and over, and over.
This morning, my main thought was, “When did Poetry cease being music?” Written poetry used to be a form of music, didn’t it? Lacking a method of recording notes, the consonants were the drum set, the vowels were the do-re-mi. The rhyme was the repetition of little themes, like those that we hear in musical composition.
I reached adulthood at the end of the Beatnik era. Ironically, I often stood there on the ground, in San Francisco, in front of the City Lights Bookstore, starry-eyed. But what I was really viewing was the carnage after a Civil War battle: that mess Ferlinghetti and his cohorts had made of a venerated Art form. I didn’t know it at the time, though. Everyone said the Beat Poets were the epitome of poesy. I was ready to stand on their shoulders. Silly me. I dunno why it took me 60+ years to figure this out. You can see how spineless and rhyme-less my poetry has been by looking at my blog:* Sometimes rhyme and/or meter will appear briefly, right in the middle of a poem then just as quickly, it’ll disappear, a few lines or stanzas later. Sort of like Los Angeles: Dozens and dozens of suburbs looking for a city.
I’m thinking at this point, rhyme and meter define poetry. Verse without either, or with neither, is some new kind of art form. It needs another name. Not giving it one is a form of fraudulent merchandising.