Poetry For Yourself

The Many Faces of Poetry 2

 

Poetry For Yourself

Poetry has an odd position in the hierarchy of creative media. It’s too personal and intense to be an instrument of mass exposure. How many famous poets are there? Five? Ten? Who comes to mind? Mary Oliver. Of course.

So why do you write poetry? Asking that question is like asking “Why do you fall in love?” You just do…because the love is in you, wanting to get out. It’s a way of falling in love with yourself. Having created something beautiful, you sit back and think…”Oh..did I do that? Where did it come from? Did I channel it from some ethereal spirit?” Sometimes the poems we write seem to belong to independent spirits. They are alien and strange.

face in space with stars

Ghost voices grow

like weaving spires in the corridor of the night.

Stalactites of moonlight,

they hum and fade

through the wake of other minds.

A sheet of star rain glinting light,

a mist of moon- heat lost from sight

these spectral hints emerge

from the night floor in the dark.

Silver waving plants recede forever

in a song of twinkling echoes.

Ghost voices, shadow worlds

arise and converse

while my sleep waits beyond the hills,

listening.

 

If I wrote that it would be evidence that I am certifiably nuts. It must be read carefully, like drinking a fabulous milkshake one mouthful at a time.  Poetry can be a vessel for deadly serious topics, or it can offer room for comedy.

Shit

There’s shit on my shoes;

cat shit, dog shit, I hope that’s all shit.

Every step I take I risk stepping in shit:

Is this not life? There’s nothing wrong with shit.

We need it, like we need bugs

to nourish with its noxious stink the most natural growth.

This poo is for you, it says, as I wipe it off my shoe

with futile hope of avoiding my hands, then washing

again and again. How often in a day do I inwardly exclaim,

“Shit!”?

More than I would admit.

My mind is full of bricks, pies and purges.

Cats, dogs, owls, horses, all shit. People shit,

the cosmos excretes Dark Matter on these very shoes

which I try so hard to keep clean. Many are obsessed

with the minuscule taint of e.coli. Why should I bother to say

“Relax, we are exposed to e.coli and far worse

every day. We are sturdy,

knocking off shits and bugs heroic, undaunted

by the invisible stools of imagination?”. Instead I spread this blessing:

“You must be crazy in whatever way you want.”

Not every disease is preventable, nor is every affliction brought on board

by the shit on our shoes. When you stroke the cat, the dog, the horse

your hands investigate bacteria, resist infection.

After all, shit is the most common thing in the world.

 

 

I’ll be honest. “Shit” is one of the best poems I’ve ever written.  I think. I always feel that way about my latest poem.  It’s got rhythm and it makes people laugh.  What’s better than that?

I know, I’m taking up a lot of space, and I think I’ve posed enough questions. No matter how personal a matter is poetry, its importance is immense. It is filled with our most private introspection. If others read it, so much the better. I didn’t write these things to live in the dark. Some day they may find an audience. Meanwhile, I offer them for the pleasure of a small number of readers who may enjoy them.


A Midwesterner by birth, Arthur Rosch migrated to the West Coast just in time to be a hippie but discovered that he was more connected to the Beatnik generation. He harkened back to an Old School world of jazz, poetry, painting and photography. In the Eighties he received Playboy Magazine’s Best Short Story Award for a comic view of a planet where there are six genders. The timing was not good.  His life was falling apart as he struggled with addiction and depression. He experienced the reality of the streets for more than a decade. Putting himself back together was the defining experience of his life. It wasn’t easy. It did, however, nurture his literary soul. He has a passion for astronomy, photography, history, psychology and the weird puzzle of human experience. He is currently a certified Seniors Peer Counselor in Sonoma County, California. Come visit his blogs and photo sites. www.artrosch.com and http://bit.ly/2uyxZbv


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The Many Faces of Poetry: The Importance of Poets

Ego within the Ego

Poets are more important than the poetry they write. Imagine a world in which there are no poets. How dismal! The poetry, though…that’s merely a by-product of what work is done by poets. The work of being a poet is the act of being different, unique, distinct. That’s what poets are for. They represent the odd, the inspired, the depressed, the struggling, the eccentric. They do this work with language, with words. The poetry may rhyme, have meter, or be abstract, modern, free and strange. No matter. Poets are like Christians or policemen. There are times when we need them, desperately. We count on Christians to keep promises. We count on policemen to help us when our neighbors get into a fight that’s keeping us awake all night. We count on poets to be slightly off-kilter, to be weird and unique. Their weirdness gives us permission to also be weird, because I’ve never met a human being who isn’t….weird.

If poets are weirdlings, madmen, people who view the world through a creative filter, then we must sustain them. Losing poets would be a calamity, an apocalypse. It would be like having all the glaciers melt. Where will our water come from? Where will these pieces of verse that are of little utility, yet so necessary, where will they come from?

Dewdrops on spider webs;

sit lightly with life.

That’s the shortest poem I’ve ever written. Or this one, also eleven syllables:

So coos the mourning dove:

come to me, my love.

I began reading and writing poetry because my girlfriend in high school loved poets. It came easily to me. I am, after all, one of those weirdlings, a true eccentric. The poetry has far outlasted the girlfriend. I’m still interested in poetry. I still love this ability to take a virtual word-photo and bring life into its papery texture. Okay, okay, I’m done. Now I’m reaching, I’m crossing that thin membrane between inspiration and bullshit. We don’t need to do that, not with poetry.

The poets will take care of poetry, hopefully for as long as humans exist.

camel 8031

The greatest thing that ever happened to Arthur Rosch was his awful childhood. Growing up in a dysfunctional family he had no choice but to get angry, rebel and follow his path to becoming an artist. His first duty as an artist was to cultivate obsessions. He proceeded to do this with gusto and learned that there is no substitute for a good obsession, compulsion or addiction to gain insight into human nature. It was a girl who inspired him to write poetry and novels. Writing is  the refuge of his later life, after forty. It took him that long to wear out the obsessions.  Rosch believes that part of a writer’s apprenticeship is to spend at least twenty years being mentally deranged. He loves jazz, science fiction, literary fiction, Rumi’s poetry, travel, history, dogs and cats and his wife, who is half Apache.

His multi media blog can be found here: www.artrosch.com

Visit his photo blog at http://bit.ly/2uyxZbv

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An Adventure in Social Media Marketing

Delilah and Horse Web Cover

In my post, It’s All in the Packaging, I interview cover designer, Dawn Leslie Mullan and I issued a plea for your help and support as the cover art for Delilah made it to the second round in a book cover contest on Facebook. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it into round three, but I want to thank all those who took the time and went to the effort to vote. Delilah has a great cover that fits her story, and I appreciate everyone who jumped in a tried to help us win. I also want to thank DL Mullan for providing such a great cover and Robin Conley for nominating it.

Although I have participated in release parties, it was my first experience with an event like this on social media, so I learned a lot from the experience. I think there are several reasons why we didn’t make it to round three. The promoters of the event were romance authors, and many of the covers we were up against were romance covers, especially the ones which got the most votes, which leads me to believe romance readers were the majority of the audience attending this event, so I considered it lucky that I was able to get the votes I did. Again, all those that voted, whether from my previous blog post, or from my massive marketing campaign to gain votes, you guys are great, and greatly appreciated.

I also learned what not to do when hosting an event like this. The event promoters laid out a set of rules for voting, which had participants clicking and liking various pages, and although the rules were laid out, it seems several of the participants failed to do so, because in later rounds, new “Rules” posts were put up, saying those who failed to follow each step would not be counted. Also, at the end of round two, they announced that hearts did not count as votes, only ‘likes’, but this was not stated at the beginning, so anyone who had someone who loved their cover enough to give it a heart was disqualified.

I think these events should be made as easy as possible to participate in. Think about it. We’re asking people to take time out to go to a page and vote, or play silly games to win prizes in the case of release parties. The games should be fun, or at least funny. The prizes should be something that will be viewed to have some value. And voting should be quick and easy, only taking a few minutes of their time. And for heavens sake, if someone does accept your invitation and attends, or votes for you, show some appreciation and thank them. I know I do, and it keeps readers coming back for more.

I was happy that the cover for Delilah made it to round two, and disappointed that it didn’t go to round three. Maybe next time. Although, I am wondering how effective these social media events really are. A couple of authors I’ve talked said they’ve participated in release parties, but haven’t seen any real increase in sales from them. That could be partly because they are attended mostly by other authors, so we may be playing to the wrong audience there.

I’d be interested in hearing from other authors who participate in these events. I’d like to know how beneficial they really are. Do they bring in sales of your books? Or are they a waste of time? If you’d like to weigh in, leave a comment here, or contact me at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.

 

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What’s in a Poem?

When this blog was on the Today.com site, as I’ve mentioned before, I published a poem at the end of every post. In “Poetry Worth Noting” I reposted two poems written by others that I had posted on the old blog site, which received several views, making me think that perhaps the poetry is something that my readers might have an interest in. So, in this post, I will publish two of my own poems and tell you a little about the stories behind them. Please leave comments to let me know if this is something that you would like to see more of here, on Writing to be Read.

The first is called Voices and it really has a lot to do with the point where I really began to feel like a writer. I was preparing for the 2008 Fremont County Writers’ and Artists’ Fair. I had a table at the fair, but I had no book to sell, so I was putting each of my poems on an illustrated background for display. While looking for a suitable background for this particular poem, I discovered a painting, by artist Mitch Barrett, of the same name. I contacted the artist and obtain copyright permission to use his painting as the background for my poem. This was all very exciting for me for several reasons. First, the painting fit absolutely perfect with the content of the poem, with a central head, surrounded by faces that all seemed to be screaming at him. Second, this was the first time that I had every participated in any type of writing function, and I was beginning to feel like a “real” writer. And third, Mitch Barrett lives in England, and that is where he called me from. I was thrilled that this man would go out of his way to make an international call to me and grant me permission to use his work!

Voices

Is what I hear voices from above?
Or are they the voices of foolish love?

Sometimes they tell me to open my eyes,
And not believe your blatant lies.
Sometimes they tell me to forgive all.
At times they warn that I’m about to fall.

Sometimes they whisper, so I can barely hear.
Other times, they are so near
That it sounds as if they’re shouting in my head.
Sometimes they caution; I could end up dead.

They tell me I’m heading for dangerous ground,
Or tell me I shouldn’t have you around.
Sometimes they say I’m headed straight for the top.
Other times, they scream that I must stop.

They urge me to go faster,
Then they say slow way down.
They seem to speak most
When there’s no one around.

They tell me to do what I feel is right,
But then they say that it’s not worth the fight.
When I feel that my heart is shattered glass,
They say that I’d better get off my ass.

They that I might just think for a bit,
But they never allow me to give up or quit.
I listen, sometimes long into the night,
And they always say that I must do what is right.

They push me one way, then pull another.
Sometimes they sound just like my mother.
Often, I wonder if they’re from my past.
Sometimes, I long for silence at last.

Is what I hear voices from above?
Or are they the voices of foolish love?      

Background Painting by Mitch Barrett, Poetry by Kaye Lynne Booth

                                

The second poem that I would like to include here, came about because of Voices and that first initial contact with Mitch Barrett. Not long after the fair, Mitch contacted me about some paintings he was working on that he wanted to display with poetry, and he asked me to see what I could come up with to go with them. He explained what he was trying to do in the painting and sent me sketches of what the intended works would look like. This past summer, his painting, Intimacy went on display at the Kaleidoscope Gallery at Battle Sea Park, in London, featuring my poem, Intimacy and the Harlequin Dance. Just recently, the painting sold, which thrilled me to no end. It now has a home in Milan, I am told. It is a great painting, with my poetry, and there has been interest expressed by gallery owners of exhibiting more artwork/poetry combinations, so I may be collaborating with this talented artist again in the future.

Intimacy and the Harlequin Dance
By Kaye Lynne Booth

We dance through the masquerade of life
Disguised to fit the music
Of so many different melodies
That at times, we forget which tune
Holds the heartstrings of who we really are.

Then one day, we find the perfect dance partner,
But to attain the perfect rhythm
We must open ourselves up and reveal our souls.
Intimacy requires that we relinquish the mask
To expose the genuine self that lies beneath.

After all the years of dancing to false tunes
Will we be able to keep time
To the genuine dance and the original rhyme?
Or shall we don the mask once more and continue to
Keep time to the false melody of the Harlequin dance?

Intimacy and the Harlequin Dance

Painting by Mitch Barrett, Poetry by Kaye Lynne Booth