There are poems that come so close to expressing the ineffable that they render me speechless, those that leave me breathless, those poems to which I react with but one word, a “Wow,” or, “Nice,” and the occasional, “Beautiful,” and or, “Sublime.” When I leave these as comments they are intended as my highest compliment to the Poet.
They are also the comments I treasure when I see them following my poems. Not that I object to the effusive and lengthy comment with remarks about a particular line one enjoyed, so, please, by all means …
Yesterday I read an exemplary poem, truly top shelf, and the author’s reaction to my comment expressing my appreciation was much like my own often are, self deprecating, maybe a tad toward the incredulous. The affirmation channels my inner Sally Field; “They like me, they really like me.”
I share the following quote, and the above definition, as part of my formidable arsenal of self talk that keeps me going when even my fine friends here at WordPress aren’t enough to make me believe in my writing, in myself.
To be a poet you must be crazy about language; and you must believe in the uniqueness of every person, and therefore in your own. To find your voice you must forget about finding it, and trust that if you pay sufficient attention to life you will be found to have something to say which no one else can say.
And if at the same time your love of language leads you to develop your vocabulary, your ear, and your form-sense, and if you are scrupulously honest, you will arrive at writing what you apprehend in a way which embodies that vision which is yours alone.
And that will be your voice, unsought, singing out from you of itself.
~Denise Levertov (1923–1997)