Background Notes — Some Get Confused
And some of the same ones who are so quick to judge us to be preaching are the first in line to step to the pulpit and lay down rules they themselves don’t follow. Like how being undisciplined in art and practice is supposedly more “honest,” yet they’re the first to be preaching intolerance of the simplest and most natural word just because it doesn’t fit their misperceptions. They’re not of a different opinion, of a different mind. They’re just plain confused.
As credited, this poem was written by all of us. Yes, including Sara, whose notebooks contained discussion and draft poetry on the distinction identifying poetic intolerance not as a different perspective, but rather as a confusion of the truth. And yes, including Adrien, if not yet back with collaboration in words, then at least by how his sketches and paintings for Sara gave background to the style and tone we used for this version of our poem. And yes, including one other, who may be joining us on a regular basis.
Sara was the most open, loving, accepting poet we’ve known. Where most mistakenly think that the traditional sestina methodology doesn’t “work” for many other numbers, she revealed the very heart of the sestina itself by opening the door to legitimate variations of every conceivable size and style. Where some too easily see sound in terms of the black and white of rhyme versus unrhymed, she showed how all words are as much family to each other as a person marrying another without regard to race, religion, culture, gender or any other distinction. Where even we were offish toward quasi-haiku fads that seem to perpetuate nothing of that sacred poetry tradition beyond a very elementary ability to count syllables, she developed an open field of poetry forms embracing every conceivable syllable count in every conceivable form, and she wrote her own poems for thousands of those variations in an effort to recapture the soul of haiku through each. She even gave open full acceptance to Adrien’s usual form – the limerick – as serious poetry of no lesser standing than the most weighty ode.
But even Sara, for all her loving and openness of all poetry, had no tolerance of intolerance. Poets and professors and critics who indulge in bashing rhyme and form and metaphor found no friend in her. “Confused,” she called them.
Some are more than confused, Sara. They’re hypocrites and are dangerous for defending or condoning or persuading others in their destructive ways. They’ll rant against rhyme and preach “freedom,” yet not only are they quick to popularize the latest rhymed hit music even if the rhyming is forced, but their so-called freedom is rudely intolerant of traditional rhyme in a modern poem. We don’t hold up rhyme as superior to unrhymed poetry, not even for formal poetry such as a sonnet. We accept both. What we can’t acknowledge as anything but worse than confused is a preaching that rejects the one over the other, or a teaching that rejects one as less honest than another.
Poetry need not have rhyme, form, or even the poetic language of metaphor. But ridicule rhyme, mock form, disparage metaphor, and you don’t merely have a different opinion. You’re just a very sadly confused fool, one who knows nothing at all about art and poetry.