(1948 / OVER 400 POEMS SERVED! !)

What Is Poetry?

Try looking at it this way:
Poetry's in Existence
Like water in the ocean!

Today's CHRONICLE's a poem.
So is a fire engine going by,
A good cup of coffee,
A burned-out streetlight,
The supermarket checker's greeting,
An aquarium full of fish,
An old person facing the wall, alone.

Ah, but is anyone really qualified
To transcribe all these poems?
Where is the scribe
Who has dissolved himself
Entirely into his ink?

by Max Reif

Comments (2)

Well, it's true that there's poetry IN everything, just like there's art in everything, but that doesn't mean that every clumping of words is a good poem. And it doesn't mean that every amateur poet's work is as good as Shakespeare's or Sexton's or Neruda's. Just as there's crappy art and crappy music, there's crappy poetry. It's usually by people that are so arrogant that they think anything they write automatically is good or that if they get a lot of hits on poemhunter then it's good. It's really not that difficult to figure out what is bad poetry. If you've read a lot of poetry by established poets, then it becomes quite easy to recognize mediocre poetry.
Exactly, Max, although a bad cup of coffee may be a better poem than a good one at times. When I see the arrogance of some people who think they can judge poetry....... They shouild all read Wilhelm Busch. In the end, poetry is (also) written for others. If many others like your poetry you are a good poet. Period. Arbitrary standards notwithstanding. Best, H