I got to the place after I had figured out some important aspects of poetry. Another way to say that is that I figured out the tools of poetry. All of them? Hardly, but a number of important ones perhaps. I sought to employ those tools. In doing so I became mechanistic, seeing poetry through the tools used instead of the creation truly desired. I worked the tools, created competent works, and then stood back and wondered what had happened. Now I know, strongly suspect, that the resulting works were a product of over worked tools. I was trying too hard. I had the embraced the thought “if I do this and this than the result will be that”. The “that” I was looking for was good poetry.
What is good poetry? What is good art? Why did my mechanistic use of tools not satisfy the metric of good poetry? Good questions! I believe the answer lays in the nature of creativity and how it can manifest. There is also an important component of viewing creativity and seeing the source as an expression of the result. Heart felt works, those that tap a common set of sentiments, have a creativity that forgives mechanistic aspects. A really creative work, one that speaks to others, will have flaws. These are overcome by the, dare I say it, spiritual connection felt by the viewer. Good poetry transcends form and speaks directly to the mind and emotions.
Where do this put me? What lesson can I learn and share with others? The easy answer is that tools have a purpose. They align the art with standards and oil the path to “good” works. Tools will take you only so far. Overly working a piece of art with tools will create something that is good, but not great. The viewer of the art instinctively sees that something is not great. The viewer can sense when something is “off”. The wine has a good bouquet and the taste begins well, but the after taste is mechanical and flat. Tools will create art, but they cannot be artistic.
Does this mean tools should be discarded? Absolutely not. The proper use of tools is incredibly important if artistic works are to rise above the average norm. There are so many passionate artists out there. The correct and sophisticated use of tools is a key to being recognized. This is where the tool's purpose stops. The artist's creative connection to the piece takes it from there. The dialogue with the viewer begins after the form is dealt with. The tools decide help determine where the viewer will begin their engagement, but the artist's vision determines where the engagement will end.