Monday, November 20, 2006

I Can't Write A Happy Poem For S***

I've never really solved the problem of how to write good poems about happy things. For example: I had a lovely afternoon with two friends on Saturday--drinking, talking, eating, watching the sun set over Northampton town centre--but could I write about it afterwards? No. I tried three or four poems and they all came out as superficial, smug, lacking in impact. But if I'd gone to meet them and we'd argued, or somebody at the next table had stabbed her boyfriend in the eye with a capuccino spoon, I'd have produced a killer short poem by now.

Why is that? Does it speak of the received wisdom we have in the post-existentialist age about what is and isn't intellectually serious? (Comedies very rarely win movie awards, after all.) Or am I just a poet with a limited range? Any other writers out there struggle to give the good things in their life the same treatment as the bad in their lyric strains?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is their lives.

Anonymous said...

It is their lives.

Bruce Hodder said...

I don't get what you mean. Can you explain?

Glenn said...

I remember seeing an interview with Neil Young once, and he said he "always writes sad, even when is happy" and that his happiness -- when it occurs -- does not seem to be something he's able to share.

Bruce Hodder said...

Well, that puts me in good company at least! Neil's a great artist.

Anonymous said...

In your article you wrote "their life." It can't be their life as it must be their lives to be correct grammar. Their is plural. You can use either singular or plural, but you have to be consistent. This is not a criticism. I am just trying to help you since you are writing for the public.

Bruce Hodder said...

I thank you for your kindness, anonymous.

I write at speed and rarely revise, so occasionally these things slip through.

Having said that, do you have an opinion on what I was saying, or were you only interested in the imperfections of the way it was said?

Anonymous said...

I certainly do. I like the title of the poem and find it apropos. Obviously, if I didn't like your writing, I would not read your blog. While some poets drain the very last drop out of despair, you are honest and interesting. Sorry if I hurt your feelings about the grammar. I really was trying to help.