What do you think when you hear someone call themselves a poet?
For me, I often think of someone older maybe with a beard and a tweed jacket. Someone intellectual and uses the English language well. Perhaps even the Old English language. Words are their playthings and they’re very clever people with deep ideas and thoughts not quite in tune the rest of the word. I don’t think of someone hip or cool. You may have pictured someone much of the same ilk. Funny we don’t picture a woman considering most people associate poetry as something more feminine probably through their impressions of things like love poems and Hallmark cards. Roses are red. Violets are freaking purple!
And yet, when you do a Google image search for the word poetry, you’ll find a lot of pictures of old men writing with feathers. If you see an actual photograph, it’s black and white and looking through a window while raining. All very gloomy. Woe is me kind of imagery. Much more Eore than Tigger. But Tigger was the fun one. No one wanted to be Eore for Halloween. And in those Google results, very few women and absolutely no young person on a laptop typing into his website. But I had a realization about poetry. With sites like Twitter and microblogging becoming so cool and popular, poems are the rhythmic ways to convey a short thought in an artful way. Talk about great marketing. Dress down a poem and they’re basically song lyrics. All the greatest songwriters are poets. Adele is a poet. She just happens to couple her writing with high production value and a talent for singing (which may be why I’m desperate to strip her down to being a poet, but I digress). She is one and despite that label, I think she might a little bit successful. Even cool.
My realization was that the outdated imagery of poetry is so far removed from reality and should be replaced with a hipster with a skinny tie sucking down his cappuccino while clacking away on his MacBook as people shuffle past with names on their recyclable cups. It’s still a stereotype, but at least has been updated with the proper technology and corporate sponsorship. Everyone is working on their masterpiece and clouding their words before leaving a Starbucks. McDonalds even offers Wi-fi in every restaurant. What better place to sit and observe for a poet?
I must admit to taking pretty hard to poetry this past week. Some of my work is shared here on this site and one of them is even well above average. It’s a fun medium to play around in and try to make an observation or point about the world or the human condition. It’s a great topic of conversation and while the topic of poetry may be outdated in imagery, it’s only more and more popular in practice on our laptops. Poems are in fact cool. We just didn’t know it. Haha. Get it?