4.06.2010

Craziness


crazy adj. 1. insane or unbalanced especially as manifested in wild or aggressive behavior; 2. extremely enthusiastic about something; 3. appearing absurdly out of place or unlikely; 4. (archaic) full of cracks or flaws --Oxford English Dictionary

From craze+y, the root of which is crasen: perforate; later, shatter; borrowed from a Scandinavian source; compare Swedish krasa: to crack, Norwegian crase: to crush --Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology

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There's lots of poetry craziness going on this week, the first week of National Poetry Month. I know most of the world is not paying attention (the mere existence of poetry in modern life may, indeed, fit the bill of definition #3 above: "absurdly out of place or unlikely"). But those of us crazy enough to be poets are extremely enthusiastic about trying to write a poem a day, even if the poems are full of cracks or flaws. And I, for one, have been slightly unbalanced by the desire to be at my desk writing today's poem, and have been muttering aggressively to people I love things like, "Don't talk to me; I'm trying to write a TMI poem."

I've been walking around the house this week thinking to myself, This is kind of crazy, this poem-a-day thing. I've even been doing crazy things like setting the coffee for 4:50 (yes, that's a.m.) to squeeze a poem in before family life begins. I felt kind of nerdy for thinking Poetry Month was crazy-making. Then I read Kelli's musings on poetic craziness over at Book of Kells, and thought, OK, good, were all crazy together, us crazy poets.

Other crazy things going on:

--That little poetry giveaway I wrote about in this post? Well it now involves 37 poet-bloggers, 84 free books, and two subscriptions to a literary journal. Aside from the obvious benefit of spreading poems around, the giveaway has brought about an unlikely (or unexpected) result: By swapping entries with other poets participating in the giveaway, I've connected to an online world of writers at various points in their writing careers/journeys, and feel just that much more a part of the world of writing and poetry for my new connections there. It's crazy!

--Then there's my friend, S., who is a graphic designer and a mom of two and she got this crazy notion in her head to write a poem from one of the poetry prompts linked at this post. Then she was crazy enough to send it to me so I could read it. And it's beautiful. Great things happen when people get crazy notions in their heads. I suggest you get a crazy notion in your head today and then go do something about it (Any crazy notion will do; bonus points for crazy notions that are poetry-related).

--It's crazy, but it's true: I'm hoarding poetry prompts against the coming famine. After a flood of daily prompts in April, after the craziness of National Poetry Month subsides, there will follow the inevitable desert: the creative-dummies that follow a period of intense activity, no more daily inspiration from the online poem-o-sphere. I am using one set of prompts for NaPoWriMo, and saving prompts from three other sources for leaner times. Not that I will be crazy enough to try to write a poem a day for any longer than one month.

--I've written a few crazy poems. The craziest one came from a prompt to write a lonely poem. I decided to write about my old house, but writing just about my old house wasn't going anywhere, so I tried this exercise: Write a prose paragraph about an emotionally charged scene or memory. Write a prose paragraph about an inanimate object. Draft a poem that uses alternating lines from each prose paragraph. I did it (the emotionally charged scene was an old break-up; the inanimate object was my old house, which - crazy - was more emotionally charged than the break-up for me). Here's the limited-time-offer, crazy (yes, full of cracks and flaws) result:

--this draft has been removed --

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Now that I think about it, "crazy" is the perfect definition for poetry. Going back to its deepest root -- crasen: perforate, later, shatter--we see exactly what poetry is meant to do: that is, to punch holes in our hearts, minds, and souls so that we can see the world more clearly, and so that we can live more deeply. In fact, didn't Emily Dickinson put it best? "If I feel physically is if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry." That's unbalanced. That's absurd, out of place, unlikely. That's wild, aggressive, insane. That's cracked. That's crazy.

That's poetry.

2 comments:

mariegauthier said...

Hi Molly,

Your two good-bye's hinge together beautifully!

I have memories of falling asleep over my laptop last year during NaPoWriMo. 'Course I had a 3 mo old, too, so that happened a lot!

Hooray for Poetry Month!

Ms. WK said...

Keep the crazy coming. I am not quite stocked up!

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