SoCS: poetic language

This week in a meeting of my poetry critique group, I managed to say that I can’t write poems with cursing or profanity, which led to a lively discussion of the use of language, in poems and in general.

I was brought up to use proper English at all times and not to swear. Unlike today, where cursing, profanity, and slang is used frequently and is nearly impossible to avoid, when I was growing up, in a town of two hundred souls in rural New England, one seldom heard any colorful language – or backtalk. I do remember our first through fourth grade teacher literally washing out a boy’s mouth with soap once, but I don’t know what he said to warrant that reaction from the teacher. Actually, I’m pretty sure she could have gotten in trouble as corporal punishment was not allowed in Massachusetts schools, but I doubt anyone would have reported it.

Someone did ask me what I would say if I dropped a roast from the oven onto my foot and I were totally alone in the house. I would probably say, “Ouch!” or maybe I would just start crying.

One of the poets thought I should do an assignment: to write a poem with profanity, but that isn’t going to happen. It wouldn’t be true to who I am and I think that that would show. Plus, I wouldn’t be able to read it aloud. I find it difficult, if not impossible to say certain words aloud, even if they are on a page in front of me. Good thing I didn’t get to take acting classes because I would probably be bad at it. I would only be able to play characters who never swear!

As it was, just the discussion had me blushing!

And now you know why my language here at Top of JC’s Mind is so tame…
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This (politely worded) post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday series. This week’s prompt is “language.” Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2017/05/12/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-may-1317/

 

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SoCS: Poet

I am a poet. I claim the title, even though it isn’t the way I make a living or something for which I have academic credentials.  (Realistically, very few poets make a living at poetry.)

I read an essay a couple of years ago by a young, credentialed poet, who was published and had been an editor, but who still felt he shouldn’t be called a poet because he wasn’t suffering for his art in a garret somewhere.

I, however, don’t make it that complicated for myself.

I considered myself a poet before I was even published because it was what I felt I am, in the same way that I am a daughter, a spouse, a mother, a woman, a musician.

It’s what I am, not what I do.

Maybe it is easier for me because I don’t do paid work, so I don’t have a ready-made answer when someone asks what I do, by which they nearly always mean “what is your job?”

I can claim to be a poet, because it is a mode of expression that is important to me and that I have been working on developing.

I am also a late-developing poet, given that I have only started writing seriously in my fifties. In the last two years, I have been working on improving my poems through participating with the Binghamton Poetry Project (a community workshop run by grad students at Binghamton University), a group of local poets who meet regularly to critique each other’s work, and a new women’s group called Sappho’s Circle.

I am about to take another big step as a poet – attending a residency/workshop. I have been angsting/mulling this over the last couple of days, which you can read about here and here.

So, I think this weekend I am going to register.

It’s one of those things that we poets do.

Because of who we are.
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This post of part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. The prompt this week is “four-letter word.”  Join us! Find out how here:  http://lindaghill.com/2015/08/28/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-august-2915/

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