Friday, November 20, 2009


For some time an acquaintance at work has wanted me to out myself as a poet, and I have resisted because 1) it's not relevant, and 2) unlike her, I don't think most people see anything positive about being a poet. There's no esteem to be earned from it, esteem that might be earned by admitting to being, say, a passionate cook, or a hobby pilot. Instead, poets in the general imagination seem to be goofy or dreamy or sissy or taking themselves too seriously. This editorial from this morning's Guardian proves my point:

"Who do you call when you want to call Europe? After five years of wrangling designed to deal with the Henry Kissinger question, the EU last night failed to provide a satisfactory answer. The first ever president of the European council is to be the haiku-writing Belgian prime minister, Herman Van Rompuy, who is still little known in his own country, let alone the wider world..."

Can you believe it - a HAIKU-WRITING prime minister? What is the world coming to? Really, doesn't "haiku-writing" in this case seem to be a synonym for ineffectual, namby-pamby and/or ridiculous? Or am I being, god forbid, overly sensitive?


Dana said...

What is the world coming to?

Kass said...

It's better than limerick-writing.

Jeff said...

Earned the nickname "sentimental bug job" growing up in the neighborhood.

Wouldn't want to go thru that again.

I'm with you...

- J.

Dominic Rivron said...

Can't think of one off-hand (a chap Google led me to - Al-Mu'tamid?), but I'm sure there are good examples of leaders from antiquity who were respected because they were capable of writing poetry.

BJeronimo said...

It broke my heart to read this post today to realize wjat I've been missing these past weeks. Work has blocked my access to any 'blog' sites. I have been busy and haven't gotten on.

Don't offer the info up. An unknown legend is sexier.

Dave said...

Not only haiku-writing, but haiku-blogging.
What an embarassment!

SarahJane said...

Yes, LIMERICK-writing would be beyond the pale.
There surely are leaders who were expected to and respected for writing poetry. I read an Abraham Lincoln poem the other day, and of course all the Chinese emperors wrote poetry. I wonder what George W.'s poetry would have been like.
I think it would be fun to replace "haiku-writing" in the paragraph with "child-molesting" or "ass-kissing" or "cat-calling"...

ron hardy said...


I had a dream that I was
throwing out the first ball
at Arlington and when I went
to throw it it landed on the
ground in front of me.
Everybody was real quiet and
then some guy shouted the word "oblongata".I like the
sound of the word oblongata.
I don't know what it meant
exactly but God knows even
if I don't.

Found poem by George W Bush

SarahJane said...

That's pretty marvelous, although I disagree with the line breaks. Please have George bring to workshop. smile

ron hardy said...

I also found this little senryu haiku by him. I think it needs some work. But I would like your
professional opinion.

Went to the bathroom
Forgot the sports and funnies
Dammit all to hell

SarahJane said...

Relies perhaps too much on the shock value of those cuss words.

Mark said...

I am quite proud to call myself a poet. There is no shame in it, only the misunderstanding of the boorish and spiteful. If poets are worthless, one might as well begin ripping flowers from the earth.

(No bitterness directed at you, my dear... just laying out my stance to the world. The bit about poets seeming self-important is kind of unavoidable. One has to have some faith that their thoughts are worth the voicing, and speak without worrying who has said the same thing in another way before them.)

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