A Detailed Destruction: No Country For Abstract Poetry


I’m too abstract to write poetry.

The sins I commit when I’m writing poetry are plentiful. Not specific enough. Not detailed enough. Not rhythmical enough.

My reaction to that has always been: I don’t care. But to be fair that’s my reaction to anyone who tells me what I should be doing.

I’m writing by my rules. Not yours. Why would I want to write by any rules at all? I’m not trying to repeat the past. That’s way too easy to do without any effort anyway.

That’s not to say I think my poetry is any good.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.  I don’t care. It’s mine. That’s what I care about.

I guess maybe I’m just defiant. I’m not interested in being told it’s too abstract or too intellectual and should be more emotional and detailed. Those things to me are all tied together. They are not separate. They are not distinct. They are one. Write what you feel. OK. I feel abstract.

I’m an abstract thinker. Abstract is not detailed. While they may not be the polar opposite, they are not exactly neighbors.

I don’t like having to pay attention to details. I don’t like reading things that are overly detailed. Why would I write that way?

Just like when I design and make furniture. No details. No intricacies. Just clean and abstract. It’s who I am. Or when I play music. Don’t like ornamentation. Keep it clean.

Or sometimes at work I’m told I’m being too abstract. I am sure it’s true. Since it’s trying to become more detailed, I usually react by using metaphors and analogies, which deflects the request for more detail and often successfully gets the point across.

Do people like my abstract interpretations and creations? I don’t know. That wasn’t the question I started with. Though there are at least a couple people who like my work. I won’t name names to protect the guilty.

I forgot the point I was making. But I’m sure it was a minor detail.  Anyway, my poetry probably won’t be developing detail anytime soon. Or anything I do for that matter.

I’ve heard God is in the details. I’ve also heard the Devil is in the details. I knew there was a reason I didn’t want to be there.

About joegergen

To evoke a smile. That's all. Author of "Methane Wars: A Fable" and "Lear's Fool" as well as various poems and some these painting things as well.
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4 Responses to A Detailed Destruction: No Country For Abstract Poetry

  1. Very unusual and out of box thinking. But why are u too abstract to write poetry? Poetry is largely an abstraction from grim realities or an attempt to place those ugly realities on a more acceptable level, philosophically. I am thinking of the metaphysical poetry of john donne etc. Why not start that up again?its so comforting, like when east meets west and the map becomes flat and easier.

    • joegergen says:

      Excellent point. I like the metaphysical poetry slant. I might have to re-examine that. I think I’m just a bit beat up and discouraged by contemporary notions of poetry. Time to get over that.

  2. the problem for most people today is that they don t see how materialistic the world has become. Materialism has no dimension other than that of money and things, more and more things with the view of history as progress in accumulation of things. i think that is why poetry, art and music have become subservient to whether they make money; like modern art in the form of a whole pig preserved in formalin and glass. what is this? return to poetry and beauty as the individual sees it not a community trying to stand out in its provocative. ugliness.u

  3. joegergen says:

    I totally see impacts in art from a increasingly materialistic world. But you write what you know and more and more people just know materialism. Even when they are reacting against materialism it’s still about materialism.

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