Why I Write Poetry

The following prose comes from a page-link I created for the opening sections of the blog (see above). However, apparently, readers cannot leave comments on those types of entries. My main point for generating this page in particular was to get visitors to comment about their experiences with verse and why they like reading poetry.

With this information in mind:
What about poetry sparks attention for you?

Feel free to open up a discussion point.

—someone point-blank asks me to define
     the un-definable.

Recently, as part of the submission process for a print journal based in California, the editors ask writers to submit a non-traditional biographical paragraph— they request for the poets to detail why they love poetry.

Frankly I was taken aback: from an early age I have always felt the instinctive need to write verse. I never questioned the desire; I always followed where the voices led me. And now, someone point-blank asks me to define the un-definable.

Fortunately, after the panic subsided, I remembered back in 1994 another journal proposed a similar approach. In part, the following emerges as my informal manifesto. This is my reply:

From earliest memories on, poetry persists, sounding out syllables in my head. I experience days where the creative urge murmurs frequently. It remains with me as a small blue dragon coiled among my organs, one of his hands poised, making the sign for water, the second arm gesturing, as if reaching out for an unseen pomegranate. A third tucks a violin against his belly, while the last raises a bow mid-air. At night as I sleep he whispers images in my head, the myths of past dreams, the lost and wandering nightmares of children. Sometimes, in the early morning hours, I can catch him strumming softly on his little violin, playing out a new melody of his own making. Pushing me to get it down on paper.


  1. And what a breath-taking image you gift us. A beautiful and powerful image of you manifest as poem. It's as essential as that. 'a small blue dragon coiled among my organs' - a guardian spirit. Maybe I'm wrong - but I thought of the Azure Dragon of Kyoto stooping to drink as it guards the east. I want to write my own paragraph now. It's a beautiful - and more far more pertinent way - to attempt to visualise what poetry means. Your paragraph transcends love.

  2. I have always said that gut instincts guide motions in poetry. If I over-think a line or struggle with exact meter count the verse suffers. Hence, my little Eastern dragon friend.


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