Exploring the Art of Poetry
Poetry, like all art, is of course, about creating, about making something where there wasn’t anything before, or about making a transferable record of something felt, thought, or observed.
Not only is that the nature of the quarterly writing and reading series, The Art of Poetry at the Hickory Museum of Art, but it is also sometimes the very topic which the artists and poets who participate in the series explore.
If I’m not clear yet, try this. Artists create. Sometimes artists creations are about the act of creating. In academic circles, they like to refer to this as “meta.” If a poem deals with the process of writing poetry, it is called “meta.” If a play brings attention to the fact that it is, after all, a play, it is called metadrama.
This isn’t anything new. Shakespeare, for example, did it frequently, sometimes subtly, sometimes less so, as in, “All the world’s a stage, / And all the men and women merely players: / They have their exits and their entrances; / And one man in his time plays many parts” (from As You Like It). Or “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player / That struts and frets his hour upon the stage / And then is heard no more” (from Macbeth).
The next Art of Poetry reading will be Saturday, September 21, at 2:00 at the Hickory Museum of Art. Metalworker, Larry Heath, has many of his creations currently on exhibit at the museum, and three poets have interpreted one of his pieces as being meta, as having something to do with art, with its power and purpose, with the act of creation itself.
Series coordinator, Scott Owens, in his poem inspired by Heath’s Orange Moon, says the art of poetry “is what won’t sit still inside your head / what wakes you up at night / what calls memory back from darkness / what gives words the shape they take / what makes you wonder how much more you could do / and just why you haven’t been doing it.”
Assistant coordinator, Kelly DeMaegd, after viewing the work wrote, “The creator imagines order, / meaning, knows that if a connection / is broken, a tree burns, hills erode, / rivers flood, cattle drown, children starve.”
And regular participant in the series, Douglas Anne McHargue, writes, “This moon is so bright / it can jump off the wall / collide with our sin / burn it to embers.”
Creating, how we do it, why we do it, what it achieves, is certainly something worth thinking about, and if it’s worth thinking about, then certainly it’s worth recording those thoughts in our own way.
To see these poems in their entirety, visit the museum after September 21. To hear them, come to The Art of Poetry at the Hickory Museum of Art at 2:00 on September 21.
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