the truth in poetry

todays topic: must there be truth?

i think that truth is higly over prized. there can only be a kernel of truth in the average telling of a story so why oh why are people determined to hold the poet in particular to telling the truth, the whole truth… you get my drift? i used to know a poet who would fall in love with tragedy in poems then be horrified and heartbroken to the point of moral outrage when she found out that the “thing” hadn’t happend to the poet at all. how dare they write that in the first person? she would demand. i also know lots of writers who will sacrifice the possiblity of a decent poem so that they can tell the whole story of the break up just as it happened, to the detail.
Clearly this bothers me. I’m a bit of an extremist. in poetry, i don’t so much care that some girl broke your heart or that a car hit your friend when he was crossing the street as i do about how you tell me. stuff happens and it happens to everyone all day long. what makes it interesting, what makes it art, what makes it a poem is how you position the words around it, how you break the vowels about the body of the subject. so ok, tell me are you down for truth in reporting, advertising and poems?

… thats a pretty easy one for me. all my poems that people seem to “connect” with have some outright falsehood in them. it never really starts that way. its just a natural fork in the road while im writing. at one point my pen gets it groove on and all of a sudden im thinking this isnt how the events actually went down but what the fuck lets see if we can clean up later. usually, its actually more of how
i would have liked for the events to turn out that comes up on my page.

it doesnt seem to matter much since i am usually lying in an effort to highlight some greater truth in the story any hows. which is to say, i dont lie on the page to fuck with people, i do it just to get to the point in the fastest way possible.
(though i do “fuck” with the reader in one of my newer prose pieces but i let the reader know that i am “fuckin” with them by the second paragraph and proceed to get ‘relatively’ truthful from there)

the fact that my best work is consistent with these shortcuts says that i dont plan on changing my habits any time soon the “truth”, btw, is a lousy shield for a piss poor poem. i really dont care if it actually went down that way, if all you are givin me is a detailed monologue of the events at hand. as such, i dont always
vibe with poets who cry onstage while revealing some painful truth (for the 98th time) and i dont always feel humbled just cuz someone shared a dark secret (i actually bought a Spice Girl album, should you applaud for me too?)

if the “truth” on paper was all a good poem needed, then the Guinness Book of World Records would be the world’s greatest anthology, n’est pas?

i do want truth in my reporting (Fox News can go to hell)
i do want truth for my documentaries (Micheal Moore has a ton of nerve calling Fahrenheit 911 a documentary)
i am not expecting any kind of truth in advertising (it’s all about the bottom line/i know that & so does the advertiser)
and fo sure, i am not expecting “truth” in poetry just honesty

reporting live from the heated sauna of my 25 room mansion,

* much thanks to lynne for letting me put up her comments in their entirety. i will be adding some stuff to the previous posts so watch for that it y’all are curious and sheet.

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