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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Judson Jerome

"Poetry is more fundamental than written language... It is one of the characteristics that defines us as human... Where there are people, there is speech; where there is speech, there is poetry."

American Author
1927 - 1991

I just pulled off my bookshelf the first book about writing poetry that I ever read.  I purchased it in 1967.  The book is The Poet and the Poem by Judson Jerome.  For more than 30 years, Jerome wrote the poetry column for Writer's Digest.  The title of the first chapter is:  "Are You A Poet?"  The first two sentences read:  "Of course, you think you are.  I have never met a person who has never written a poem."

Many people write what they think is poetry.  Most have no clue as to what poetry really is and many have never read a book of poetry.  Few people would take up painting without studying the masters of the past.  Most people wouldn't attempt to play the piano without studying the greats.  Yet, many who have not ever read a poem will pick up a pen and attempt to write one.

As Jerome says, "where there is speech, there is poetry.  Poetry is in our DNA.  Poetry is at the heart of language.  So maybe we all at some level are poets.  We may not be great poets or even good poets, and we may write bad poems, but we still call ourselves poets.  And that is okay.  We should not stop writing, painting or singing simply because we are not successful.