17 November 2006

The Poet

For the longest time, I have surreptitiously denied who I am. I have tried to be a historian (though I dearly love history), an author/novelist, a playwright, a director, even a seller of baseball cards and Japanese imports (anime). Most of the time, I have told people I was a student, that I was working on my graduate degrees at alternating times, though my goal is to finish them and perhaps teach... I think I would make a pretty good professor. At least I am told I would. Either way, even the gladness that teaching in college would bring pales in the shadow of the person I am and should be.

I have been writing more than half my life now, around twenty years if you count my writing up scenarios for roleplaying games, but around seventeen years otherwise. In those early days, I wrote mostly short stories and essays, though my teachers would tell me how poetic my descriptions were (and something I would hear from my history professors as well) and that I should try my hand at poems. I cannot even remember the first poem I wrote, though I remember for whom, and I suppose that is enough. I remember taking a portion of a class in high school regarding poetry, and my senior year we focused on The Iliad, but we never had any poetry assignments nor were taught how to write poems. So, it all came naturally... but I understand that is how it usually works.

I started keeping a journal (a rather interesting wood and leather bound journal with paper that felt a little like parchment) that became more my poetry notes than anything else, being a bit of a romantic and eschewing actual events unless they were momentously important. The journal also was with my during my first trip to Australia and the poems contained within certainly impacted the journey. One might be surprised the effect of words... I know I was, at least then. The irony is that I think only a couple of poems from that time do I still consider any good. I occasionally read some of the older stuff with wonder and awe... how did she fall in love with me? The funny thing is, I've had to ask that question a few more times, especially since about seventy percent of my poetry (or at least the poetry I feel comfortable enough to show others) has been written since my divorce, more than five years ago. Maybe I was a lot more romantic then. No maybes about... I was. Perhaps my romantic enthusiasm more than made up for my ignorance in style and substance.

That, I suppose, brings me to the poet, no longer the romantic, just the poet. For a long time, I was not comfortable with calling myself one. And should I be able to? I have only published some poems in e-zines and in writing workshops. I have been told on numerous occasions that I should publish, and one day I might(really, I think I need about twenty or more good poems... I have about eighty or so now). And I do not know why I was so uncomfortable. I think, in the past, I was more comfortable, but in the past I am sure I did not know better. I could not fault myself for my energy and idealism, but it led to some situations that get the better of the idealism in us all. Now, I understand how to temper the romantic with a dash of pragmatism, and because of that, I am able to write political and war poems and more soul searching, more universalist romantic pieces. I admit to fond memories of the boundless romantic, but the words always seemed a little shallow. So, I became more focused on theme and structure and lost a little passion along the way. It took some time, as things like this often do, and I feel I have gotten back a good bit of the passion (for I understand now you cannot be a poet and lack passion), keeping my affinity for structure intact... or at least structure without rhyme. And rhyming is something I will always be working on. As for the rest, I do what I can and hope for a little inspiration now and then, as poets often do.

So, I leave you as Christopher Powell, the poet. Finally, I think I am ok with that :)



kate said...

you should be proud of christopher powell, the poet. he is immensely talented.

jedimerc said...

He tries, but needs to write more. I have to kickstart him a little bit, bu I do thank you :)

Shoshana said...

Poet is good. Robert Burns is a poet...wasn't he? Gosh, what if he's someone else and I am totally remembering him wrong...like I thought it was Andrew Jackson who was impeach...I'm going to have to apologize to Burns too!

I thought I can write until I actually sit down and try to do it...then I am just staring at this blank screen that nothing but nothing makes it word-full.

jedimerc said...

I believe he was... wasn't Burns 17th century Scottish poet? Literature is not exactly my field :)

Jackson, Johnson, both of them were from Tennessee but Jackson was a whole lot more popular with the average American, and no one liked Johnson... except maybe the South, who he was trying to keep from being crushed by the weight of Reconstruction... the vengeful sorts in Congress decided to try and impeach him. Like our more present impeachment, they did fail... I think the House impeached him, but the Senate failed (but I could be wrong on that one).

I usually avoid writing at the computer unless it is posting. Most of my stuff I copy from a pad of paper or my paper journal.