Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Genre of Poetry

But first: the feet of all the poets at the poetry writing retreat, wearing the slippers given to us by our bold leader, Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Most people who know me will be able to guess which ones are mine.

All right: the new genre of poetry. At the retreat, Jeanie Thompson, our poet teacher, had us writing contemporary elegies, poems of loss. I myself wrote four: about the loss of my mother, the loss of Grandpa, the loss of dreams, the loss of love. It was all cathartic and strangely satisfying.

But then I decided that there needs to be a genre of poetry not devoted to mourning past losses but to anticipating future gains. One of our wonderful wordsmiths prompted christened it, not the eulogy, but the newlogy. We wondered a bit why this hasn't caught on already as a poetic form. It might be that poets as a group are a gloomy bunch, but I don't think so. Maybe it's that the past has already happened, so we can acknowledge it in all its specificity, with those wonderful vivid details that bring writing alive. Whereas, the future is inchoate, unrealized, yet to be.

Still, we might as well get some practice in visualizing wonderful futures for ourselves with the same careful attention to detail we give to grieving our painful pasts.

Maybe I'll go write my first newlogy right now.


  1. 'Newlogy' -- that's brilliant. I would love to read all of your new poems, if you feel like sharing them.