"Poetry? I just don't get it..."

It is difficult
 to get the news from poems, 
                   yet men die miserably every day 
                                  for lack 
of what is found there.

                            William Carlos Williams
Poetry? For most, it comes from a galaxy far, far away; written by people long, long ago. And yet there are thousands of poetry books, chapbooks, and broadsides that keep sliding down the chute. And thousands more literary journals and online magazines, all publishing poems, all hosting competitions.

Thousands write poems…but who actually reads or listens to it? Not many. Pretty much the only audience out there for poetry is other poets. It is a very insular world, one that seems to purposefully exclude the non-poet. I think this is mostly because most contemporary poetry is incomprehensible to the non-poet. But with a just a bit of explanation from the poet, many poems become more accessible. It doesn't mean they aren't still a little strange and 'hard'. Here's what the great American bard William Carlos Williams once said about this:
I wanted to write a poem
that you would understand.
For what good is it to me
if you can't understand it?
But you got to try hard –

                            from” January Morning”
Indeed. But you don’t need to attend an MFA program in poetry for two years in order to gain admission into the dark, rapturous, goofy, and strange theme park of Poetry Land. Below are links from the infrequently appearing section I call: “Poetry? I Just Don't Get It.” They each contain one poem, along with an explanation by the poet.

Erling Friis-Baastad: Andalusian Poems

Miriam Sagan: Diamond Tsunami

Mark Pawlak: Among the Colleagues


  1. Thank you so much for this site. I have had several poems published through "subsidized" publishers. I am a Stranger in a Strange Land. I write now for myself; it is a therapy of sorts. As one of my favorite English professors once said "A writer writes, no matter who hears". Thank you. LaDonna Adams

    1. Glad you like the site. Thanks for your comment, appreciate it. I can relate to "stranger in a strange land" within the poetry landscape, even after all these years. Many poets I know feel that way. I guess we're all working alone, but within a larger community, and always with all those past poets who felt the same way looking over our shoulders. Thanks again.