Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
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What is Poetry?

by Jean Jones

What is poetry?

Chopped up pieces of prose
but once, a long, long time ago…
poets used rhyme and repetitious lines to tell
ancient stories of heros, and adventures…

Once, troubadors
pledged love
using lyrics to bring out the passion
in their thoughts, and
then it became words set to music, music that put words to the attention of listeners
who had long stopped listening to words in grade school
tired of reading Shakespeare
over when it was so much better to watch it on stage
(the way it was meant to be),

and despite the efforts
of e. e. cummings,
William Carlos Williams, Allen Ginsberg,
Jack Kerouac, The Beattles, Jim Morrison,
didn't die,
it just became relegated to academic journals,
liberal arts colleges, and creative writing programs,
and people read their books aloud to their friends
in rooms
of twenty or less.

But some people still try: Using web pages, and encouragement, some people
still try to gather "together the tribe,"

a group of loners who hardly enjoy hanging out with anyone
much less people
like themselves

and these people, these editors, archivists, they keep
doing it, doing it, and doing it (though I have a feeling…)

and though I can't understand why and even though I'm only motivated by
selfish reasons, I want to get published but I don't want to read others
much less buy their books

I have to give them their due-
These editors, these archivists,
they keep the fountain
this spring of eternal youth, this fountain of the muses,

and how much better it is
for all of us,
in the end…

© 2011 Jean Jones

Jean Jones was born in Indonesia in 1964, received a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Poetry from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio in 1988, and is currently co-editor of Word Salad Poetry Magazine, an online poetry magazine that can be found at: http://wordsaladpoetrymagazine.com/drupal7/

Find more by Jean Jones in the Author Index.

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