When I entered graduate school, I participated in mixed genre workshops. I found myself spending time reading poetry by marginal poets. Partly in retaliation, partly because I lacked the time required to produce longer works, I began writing poetry and inserting my work into these workshops. Some of it was well received. Most of it annoyed the poets who subscribed to the idea that "poetry is." I wanted poetry to tell stories. As such I tried to demonstrate what I wanted poetry to accomplish
Poetry is whatever anyone dares identify as poetry. It will work for its "reader," who might not be you, or me. Therefore, your expectations of poetry can prevent you from appreciating what doesn't initially appear "poetic."
The focus of poetry is the "word," not the story, nor any truth the story conveys. Thus, poetry is neither fiction, nor non-fiction. It is the assembling of words for the sake of the assembly, making modern poetry like modern art: some of these "assemblies" seem rather bizarre.
Book of Nightmares; Ginsberg, Howl, but I know how the world will end. I don't share their darkness, or their enlightenment. I might have if I hadn't been predestined from the foundations of the earth to do a different work. So while I understand their darkness, I'm not with them either in it or coming out of it. My work visits their neighbors, but doesn't spend the night there.
In Upriver, Beyond the Bend, as well as in additional work as time permits. I will occasionally add new pieces, and I encourage everyone to buy Upriver in book form (the publisher will be pleased). But I would rather have you read the poems than make a pittance in royalties. So either enjoy, or throw rocks. In those mixed genre workshops, I had both responses.
A last word: the cover photo on Upriver was the most politically-incorrect photo I could find. The photo wasn't posed, but was a snapshot of me taken thirty years ago. In the photo, the icons of High Romanticism are all present, and all inverted. They reflect how I lived, Upriver, Beyond the Bend.
Upriver, Beyond the Bend
Lights In Defiles