Poetry for Pinheads
Now, I know what you're thinking - poetry, great... that most pretentious corner of literature where old men and women write about why we should feel pity for the leaves that fall in autumn or why we should envy mice or worship the wind. Well, I hate to break it to you - a lot of poetry has that mephitic air of self-delegated importance, that cloying, over perspicacious nature that so many despise. Luckily, these are what I like to call the pseudo-poets. Unless you are-500 year-old worm food, poetry doesn't have to be detached or even sentimental.
The key is authenticity. Whatever you say, whatever you document, make sure it's your voice. Reading another "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" poem is banal; reading a poem about your bad hair day is interesting, refreshing - it branches poetry into unexplored territory, redefining its application.
A lot of people have the same question as me: When do I officially become a poet? I can write as many limericks as I want, but none of them are as witty or pawky as the poetry I read. What's the secret to being the next e.e. cummings, or Walt Whitman? Well, my friends, all it takes to be a poet is to write your first verse. Poets aren't born, they're made - crafted through rubbish after rubbish after rubbish until, exhausted from trying to write something of charged importance, you start writing from and for yourself. This is the slump where your most fulfilling and believable poetry will arise.
So open your ears, open your eyes to the world around you. Take something that you notice, and translate it into words on a page. In the words of Octavio Paz, "The idea of universal correspondence comes from the idea that language is a microcosmos, a double of the universe. Between the language of the universe and the universe of language, there is a bridge, a link: poetry. The poet, says Baudelaire, is the translator. " With how confusing things can be nowadays, I feel the world could use a few more translators.