F. Isabel Campoy is a poet, playwright, songwriter, and storyteller. She has written numerous children’s books (many in collaboration with Alma Flor Ada) both in English and in Spanish in the areas of poetry, theatre, folktales, biographies, and art.
“Poetry is the chisel of language. It carves meaning until beauty appears, dancing with the rhythm of form.”
Beautiful and apt thoughts for National Poetry Month!
At the beginning of this year’s poetry month, I mentioned that Michael Chabon, no slouch himself in creating “surprising and beautiful utterances” (as he characterizes the work of James Joyce) points to “the joy and sensuous appeal of alliteration, assonance, and consonance” in poetry. He credits one of his college poetry teachers for helping him define poetry:
“He emphasized accuracy and precision in language, the sadness of cliché, the need to find newness in the way one wrote about the world, and, unconsciously I think, the supreme importance of exuberance.…”
Here is Chabon clarifying what he means by discussing the poetry of “the most exuberant poet who ever lived, Frank O’Hara”:
“The voice of O’Hara was the voice of a friend, a best friend. It was intimate and casual. And yet at the same time it was also refined, literary, erudite, capable of hopping like a sparrow down a sidewalk from densely imagistic to dishy and familiar in the space of a single line.”
Chabon, like those he admires, also has “gifts of sensory perception and the figuration thereof.” And this is the beauty of poetry.
Finally, a little poem on what is poetry, by Charles Ghigna, also known as “Father Goose”:
A Poem Is A Little Path
A poem is a little path
That leads you through the trees.
It takes you to the cliffs and shores,
To anywhere you please.
Follow it and trust your way
With mind and heart as one,
And when the journey’s over,
You’ll find you’ve just begun.”