I like good poetry. Actually, I love good poetry.
What I mean by that is that I like Wendell Berry. And Robert Frost. And Maya Angelou. Better yet, Baxter Black and Wally McRae. Wordsmiths, of course. They always use the right word in the right place. And to quote Mark Twain, "The difference between the right word and almost the right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug."
And what I also mean by that is that I do not like bad poetry. You know, poetry by those who use The Poetry Voice when they read it. You've never heard The Poetry Voice? Here is an example.
Some of the bad stuff out there is from amateur poets who put their stuff out on the Internet or on their blogs. I feel that just as much of it comes from academia. In many ways it is worse, partly because a) they should know better and b) they're so self-referential that no one but other academic poetasters can actually understand them. If you don't get it, you're stupid. Or ill-bred. Or both. Like Duke Ellington said..."If it sounds good, it is good."
I, an MFA,Will inquire in free verse...Would you like the fries?
So no offense to those who actually write poetry that sounds good, enriches the soul, and leaves
you feeling like you just ate a paragraph of hot fudge sundae or a really ripe verbal mango. Not that your poetry has to be good...it's good to write it anyway. Just don't make the assumption that anyone else wants to read or hear it. Do I write poetry? Sure do. Do I publish it to the world? Hell, no. But my wife sure likes it. So there ya go. I please my audience of one, and consider it an effort well-rewarded.
The whirled wide interweb makes everyone an author. Instantaneously. That is the frightening thing.
Off the soapbox. Sorry.
My opinion is that the best place for poetry is the refrigerator. This is where democracy meets magnetic strips of words. Our fridge was overrun with three sets of poetry - the Standard, the Latin, and the Shakespeare. The combination can be volatile. But when teenage kids waiting for the frozen pizza to come out of the oven write stuff on the fridge, it's always interesting.
Claptrap? Well, when you consider where it came from and the limited vocabulary from which the poet could select, it ain't half-bad. And it was probably done by a thirteen year-old.
This one is almost assuredly my son's work.
My favorite fridge poem is no longer intact. An Amish family we know pretty well was visiting us. They were on an overnight to Ohio and we're halfway, and we are considered decent folks for English. They had half of their kids (five or six) with them, and almost immediately the teenagers crowded around the door of the fridge. These are the same kids who were so excited about a new game (Boggle) I gave them the game for Christmas. Apparently they still play it a lot.
When the Herschbergers pulled out the next day, there was a small corner of the fridge they cleared off, and there was this little "poem" in the corner:
WE LOVE YOU.PLEASE COME SEE US SOON.LOVE, US.
If there were such thing as an Amish Poet Laureate, my guess is they'd write simple stuff like this. My guess is that the Amish would like haiku.
P.S. No family is immune. This is my wife's cousin's work.