Thursday, February 26, 2009

Why is Writing Important?

Once again, I'm sorry for the delay in the postings. I know that everyone got used to reading my posts once a day, five days a week. Over the past month, however, I've been followed by a dark cloud of viruses that have rained down their sickness upon me. At first, it was pink eye, then I had the flu, and then, this past week, I had strep throat. I've never had pink eye or strep throat in my life! Strep throat is the worst of them all. I had a fever that was unbelievable: 103.4. Thank goodness Sherry got me to the doctor when she did. A few more decimal points up the thermometer, and I would have been in serious trouble. So, it's been a difficult week. And, to think, I went most of the past two years without a bug. Hopefully, it all happens in "threes," and I'm done with all this stuff.

So, today, I'd like to talk about writing. When I taught college composition, I had many wonderful students. Several of them told me they went on to get their degrees in English because of me. That was an awesome feeling. To think that I had an impact on motivating young minds to make those decisions is incredible. But, beyond those select few who really loved writing and listened, most students came into class grumbling about why they needed to learn to write. After all, many were majoring in the sciences, math, or engineering, and they just couldn't connect to the concept that writing would still be an important component of their professional lives.

I wasn't trying to make poets out of these kids. I had to introduce them to the basics, and I had to ensure that they had a grasp of the basic argumentative essay. They had to write coherently, do their research, and to write correctly -- all, as I told them, so the reader could understand what they were writing about. It was all part of the new "Writing Across the Curriculum" program unveiled throughout universities across the United States. There was a growing concern that college graduates were leaving the educational system without the ability to communicate.

Just like I told my students, if you cannot write well, people will judge your intelligence by your words. I also told them that they would have to write reports, briefs, documents, etc., to give to their managers, and it didn't matter what field they were in. Think about your daily job: do you have to write to other people? Do you have to send emails to colleagues, bosses, or customers? Do you have to write promotional material or white sheets for projects that you are working on? Do you have to provide status reports? On a personal level, we all write emails and letters to friends. We write letters to businesses that we are dissatisfied with, and we all have the occasional letter that we're asked to write for someone. In fact, these days, you can't get a loan unless you write a letter of need to the bank. And if you're starting a business, you have to write a solid business plan. So, tell me, is writing important?

Yes it is! Take the above examples. If you write so poorly that you come across as an ignorant person, do you think that your managers or customers are going to respect you? Are they going to promote you or do business with you? Probably not. Instead, they're going to mock you, call friends over and have them read it while having a good laugh. If you own your own business, and you're writing promotional materials for your products, and it's so bad that the reader can't even understand the point of it, do you think the reader is going to be motivated to buy that product? No way. In fact, those customers will either be annoyed or irritated at the material and vow to never do business with you. They'll judge your products and your authority in your field based upon the information you give them. That's just the way it is.

The best thing a person can do to enhance their career, build their business, or survive in the real world is to learn to write effectively. Believe me, it is a necessity. I'm not saying that you have to be a Faulkner or Hemingway, but, by all means, learn how to develop a coherent thought and write it in a coherent way so your readers understand what you're saying. Learn how to use the dictionary or the spell/grammar checker on the computer. Learn how to write sentences that are clear, focused, and relevant. Otherwise, you're not going to get that promotion, nor will you get new business.

This is why composition classes are required for all freshman today, and many other curriculums are requiring advanced writing classes that specialize in the type of writing students will do in their selected fields. This all came about after the Modern Language Association sent surveys to business owners and executives at large corporations. These leaders agreed that the number one issue in the workplace was a failure through communication, and poor writing was a general concern, especially for companies in engineering, medical, and technology fields. Not only does it cost time in project development, but it costs in errors that should never have been made, and it costs lives in medical settings.

It may have taken many years to discover this, but what is a great idea or innovation if the person who designed it can't explain it to other people? Many companies, in the past, relied upon technical writers to take information from engineers and make it understandable to executives and customers. However, this is an expensive bridge from machine to human-understanding, and many companies are discovering the value of hiring technical people who can also write a decent paper. It is no wonder that many of these companies now require an essay along with a resume for the application.

So, as you can see, writing is important for everyone. If you know how to write, you can take all of those thoughts in your head and put them into action, whether it's for a reduction in your interest rate or to explain a project that you've been working on. The more proficient you are at writing, the better your chances are for a better life. If you cannot write, you're in trouble and are dodging bullets every day. The best thing to do is buy a writing guide and start working on your skills. You don't have to be perfect. Again, in business, the idea is to learn how to put information, an idea, or an argument, and frame it so that the reader can comprehend everything you're saying. It's really not that difficult at all, and it will be the biggest asset in your arsenal.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Value of Good Writing

Last night, I was working on new content for my website's home page. While I love the look and style of my existing home page, and I love the layout, I just don't feel like it captures me, who I am, and what services I offer, so I feel like it needs to change to be more in line with what my true talents are, what I bring to the table for prospective clients, and what represents me and my voice more consistently.

I don't approach this lightly. I have had considerable success with the website as it is. I've been given good jobs, and just like many baseball players out there, I'm afraid that change will jinx everything. It's funny that, at 38, I'm worried about jinxes and voodoo curses, but I'm smart enough to know that the message is important. The entire page, graphics, and layout send a message, and any changes to the home page inevitably changes the message. This, I learned, as a Rhetorician.

However, I've also received a lot of feedback from clients who've hired me. They hired me, not because of the rhetoric background or the Sophistic point of view, but because they saw, in my writing, a depth that they haven't seen from other people. Inevitably, those people who hired me took time to go to my portfolio and read my samples, they've visited this blog to read my day-to-day natural voice, and they've seen the inspired words and rhythms that I have left on paper.
I've been told, over and over, that my writing is more than just writing. It has a fluidity to it, and it can be poetic, even when I'm writing prose or the informal blog post. It's the poet inside of me who is responsible for this style. It cannot help but leech out into my essays, articles, and posts. As I've looked back at all of my writing throughout the years, my best work is full of poetic devices, and the rhetoric is much more powerful when I feed off of my right brain. Messages become more clear, persuasion becomes more effective, and reading my work becomes more enjoyable.

Over time, I've tried to hide this component of my voice. I have done it willingly at times, and I have done it subconsciously at others. Either way, however, when I do it, my writing suffers, or at least I feel like it does. Simply, I write best when I feel the words, and when I feel what I'm writing, it's like I'm pulling every sentence out of my heart. This is when I'm at my best.

After thinking about it for some time, I realized that this is what separates me from the majority of writers who I compete against for jobs. Most writers out there are mechanics of the English language. There are a lot of people who can take words and place them on paper to form a sentence. They take those sentences and make paragraphs, and they take those paragraphs to make essays or chapters in a book. The result is always uninspired reading. The subject is covered completely, but the writing is flat.

Perhaps this satisfies some people. It doesn't satisfy me, though. I've picked up and put down more books than I've read because the writing wasn't satisfactory. The words did not flesh out the subject, and the topic or characters were not brought to life. There was no emotional response, and before I knew it, I lost interest in the book.

But, unfortunately for the industry, there are many more "word mechanics" out there than there are artists. The sad part about it is that these people, because they are not putting their heart and soul into their work, are charging pennies on the dollar for their efforts. These are the people who I compete against, and these are the people who I have to separate myself from. I have to show the value of their work is not equal to the value that I bring to the table.

How do you define "value," though, when you're discussing writing? I know the answer to this, but I also know that it cannot be compared as easily to the value of a car, for example, but the same methodology applies. If someone charges $100 to write an essay for a company's product, and that essay is never read, or it does not inspire people to purchase the product, then that $100 is wasted. On the other hand, if someone charges $1,000 to write an essay, and that essay is well-received, read, and motivates readers to buy $10,000 worth of product, then that $1,000 was a much better value than the $100 the other writer charged.

I've had people hire me and tell me that they had already paid for someone to write something for them, but they had to go back and do most of the re-writing themselves because the writer did not deliver on his promises. Those customers lost money because they inevitably hired me to do it right. I was the real value, yet I charged more than the other person.

You see, writing is so much more than coming up with a thesis statement, drafting an outline, and putting words on paper. Poets and great writers of literature know this. Why do you think they buck the rules so much? Because they know that writing is art. It's music, it's painting, it's dance... all through words. The emotions and rhythm, the pouring of one's soul onto the canvas... that's what great writers do. Poetry is not confined to poems. Great poets write great prose because they know the power of language. This is something that cannot be learned in a workshop or class. It's a talent. You're born with it. To say there is no value in that is ludicrous. The value is in the reaction of the reader to the writing. The value is in the ability to get the reader to dance with the poet, letting the poet take the lead. Then, the message is heard, and it is not forgotten easily.

Many will say that I'm arrogant. That I put myself above other writers. I'm not insinuating that at all. I am saying, though, that I am a poet at heart, and I do grasp the power of language. This is why I can write in any voice and in any style that I want to. I am persuasive because I feel my words, and I feel the readers as they read those words. Innately, I know how to take the words and create images, voices, sounds, feelings, and thoughts in the readers' heads. My best work, that work that I've done as a poet, is proof of that.

The struggle that I have, and the one that I now face in thinking about changing my home page, revolves around the struggle I've had my entire life. Do I embrace the poet, or do I become the writer who is nothing more than mechanic? I feel much better about myself when I am the poet -- mind you, not just writing poetry, but in writing all things. I put myself on the line every time, and I love that. When I write like a mechanic, I feel bad. I feel like I've let my client down, and I've let myself down.

I am best as a poet, and I embrace images and the simpler things in life. I am best when I take the everyday things and make them extraordinary. When I let myself go, and I follow my right brain, I win every time, and so do my clients. When I fail to let my heart speak, I fail everyone, especially my readers. The fight to make my words magic, and the magic itself, is the value of bringing something special to the table. I am no longer fixing an old car to get it to run. I am restoring an antique in its original form, all with original parts.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Little Foggy

I'm so sorry that I haven't written in a while. I have had the flu, of all things, and it took me several days to recover. This was a nasty little bug, if I may add, and it controlled me for quite some time. There's no rest in rest when you're sick, but being sick does intensely focus one's mind, although only for short periods of time. The majority of time, though, is always spent in a fog. So the bug can, at once, be a blessing and a curse. The curse is easy to prove. We've all been there. Feeling lousy dulls the senses, causes time to lapse unknowingly, makes you lose yourself somewhere between dawn and dusk. It's like a fog hovering over a harbor. At the same time, though, at the most unexpected instance, there comes intense focus, and during those fevered moments of awareness, things become clear like they've never been before.

That is where I have been. Caught between two realms of misery and clarity. Unfortunately, there was more misery than clarity during the ordeal. The whole experience reminded me of a poem that I've always loved, and since I've been reading Carl Sandburg so much, this particular short poem stuck in my head. Oddly enough, he titled it Fog. And since I've been spending time talking about Sandburg, I thought I'd share this twenty-two word poem with you and talk about it.


The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

What a beautiful little poem. Sandburg wrote it while sitting in a waiting room of a juvenile court judge. He was a journalist, and he was waiting for an interview. As was his habit, he always carried a notebook or some scrap of paper with him to write down his thoughts , and on these bits of paper, he left some of America's best poetry.

What made this little poem so striking was its simplicity. It was a poem that everyone could understand, even the simple people of America. The language was plain, and it was also a short, descriptive poem that everyone could relate to through their daily experiences. Sandburg was not known as a great poet when he wrote Fog, but this was the moment when the symphony inside him began to play. After reading it to a few folks on the street, he knew that he had something special to give to "his" people.

You can over-analyze poetry, and I've alluded several times in the past that this is one of the problems with critics today. I don't' want to over-analyze this poem. As a poet myself, I can see that he was probably motivated by his senses. Perhaps that very morning, he saw the fog rolling in steadily over the lake, and perhaps, before he looked up again, the fog had vanished as it gave way to the sun.

The important thing is that he wrote it for everyone to appreciate. Sandburg was a friend of the down-trodden, the laborer, the bum, and the poorly educated. He wrote about them extensively through his newspaper articles, and, somehow, in some way, something told him to give art to those people in a language they could understand and about things they could relate to. He wanted to add beauty to their lives in a way they could appreciate, and, as a poet, he knew that no other poet had reached for this audience. He wasn't interested in the metaphysical interpretation. He just wanted to paint a colorful picture of words on a plain canvas that would evoke emotion in those who never had that opportunity to experience the art.

As a poet, I know that is the job of a poet. Capturing life around me is my job, but catching it in a musical or picturesque way to make it stand out is the goal because that is how you take the "usual" and make it create an emotional response. He would have felt the same. He believed, as I do, that the only other level of interpretation is the poet's inner voice working throughout. Looking at Sandburg as being a part of the poem, then I would say this poem is also a reflection of him. His life was like the fog. He was always active, shifting, and moving onto something new. He was a free-spirit who did not adhere to the rules and expectations of society. So, perhaps if you wish to dig so deep, this poem was about him too.

I wouldn't take it any further though. The poet's persona will always imprint his interpretation of what he sees, but I don't think it needs to go any further than that. The poem, itself, stands on its own. It captures life, and it captures the fleeting nature of nature. The beauty of nature is that it is there for everyone to enjoy, and the beauty of Sandburg is that he gave his poetry to everyone as well. He was able to do so because he was like the "fog."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Boob Tube

The television...some people claim it's one of the greatest inventions society has ever had. Entertainment certainly helps drive the economy. Were it not for commercials, Super Bowls, soap operas, reality shows, etc., what would people have to do with their time, and what in the world would they talk about around the water cooler the next day? Greed and corporate wealth are promoted every day and so is violence. "Life" on television gets more realistic too, especially as Hollywood grows more confident in that which it can get away with.

Growing up, I was one of the "lucky" kids who had a TV in my room. In fact, I had cable there as well, and I was able to watch anything I wanted to at any time (except adult channels). When I was a kid, of course, there were limits to my TV watching, but as I got older, I could plop down in my chair and watch my favorite shows. I was one of the fortunate ones, though. My grades were good, I still played outside a whole lot, and I grew up in a time where TV was not as violent as it is today. I'm sure that my parents would have put a stop to my TV freedoms if I were not living up to my potential.

As a parent, though, because of Hollywood's decaying morality and propensity for violence, I've found that I've changed my views about the television. For our children, Sherry and I have decided that TV will not be a central part of their lives. In fact, we don't even have cable anymore, and we don't have rabbit ears to pick up the local stations. We have a TV and a DVD player, and we allow the kids to watch certain movies that we screen, and they can only watch so much during the day. Mostly, TV is limited to the weekends, or, if they've been particularly good during the day, we might let them watch a short movie right before bedtime.

I changed my view about TV by watching other people's families over the past ten years. We used to have a neighbor who let her children watch TV every day, all of the time. In fact, the TV was never turned off. If I woke up at 3am, I could see the TV lighting up their living room. In fact, they used to say that the TV accounted for half of their electric bill, and I believed them. Their children would come home from school, plop down in front of the TV and remain listless through the day until they finally fell asleep in front of the TV. It was rare that they went out and played, and most of their interactions with other friends were in front of the TV or playing video games on the TV. It is no wonder that all of her children were behind grade-level in school. While her oldest son was getting in trouble with the law, her youngest daughter was behind in talking and reading. It boggled my mind that the TV was a babysitter, especially since the mother was a stay-at-home mom herself, and she would blame the schools for her children's problems when, all along, I thought the problem was that boob tube in their living room and her lax parenting skills.

Carl Sandburg somehow became friends with the President of Zenith Corporation, and, as a gift, this President gave Sandurg the first TV it manufactured. That TV is still on display at the Sandburg National Historic Site in North Carolina where he lived for the last two decades of his life. To everyone's knowledge, the TV had never been turned on. Sandburg thanked his friend for the gift, but he also wrote that he recognized the fact that TV was the biggest waste of time, and he predicted that it would change society for the worst. Instead of letting his children spend idle time in front of the TV or radio, he insisted that they read books and play outdoors. He knew that they would be better off for it.

I must agree with Sandburg on this issue. I believe my children are much better off because TV hasn't taken so much of their lives away from them. My oldest son is the biggest lover of books of any four-year-old I have ever seen. He has grown up with a book in his hand, and he is reading better than children twice his age. He also has the most creative imagination I have ever seen in a child his age, and I attribute this all to reading and outdoor play. It's too early to see the effects with my youngest child, but I have no doubt that it will be the same for him too. This is not to say that they don't love watching TV. I know that they would watch it all day long if we let them, but it is to say that they are better off not doing so.

The television earned its nickname, "the boob tube," for a reason. It's a dumb box that creates dumb, unimaginative children if it is not managed by parents. I can see how easy it is for it to become an artificial babysitter, but as a parent, we have obligations to raise our children to be better than that. I'm not criticising parents who let their kids watch TV every day, and I'm not criticising parents who use it as a babysitter at times. I understand the need for a break, and we're not different than anyone else. What I am saying, though, is that there are a lot of kids who are being raised by the TV, and that is where the problem is. Hollywood is teaching the morals of these children and dictating what is good and what is bad. The issue for me is that the "bad" keeps moving closer to the "good" every year. What was bad twenty years ago is now OK, and that is not OK with me. So, the TV goes.

I do not find it ironic that societal problems are getting worse and worse each year despite the technologies and learning resources that our kids are given in school. I think that it is pretty easy to see the correlation between TV and a dumber, more violent America, though. I'm not worried about adults. I don't think there's anything wrong with an adult sitting back and watching their favorite show after a long day at work. But I do think that the children should not be sitting in front of the TV for three to four hours a day -- or more -- soaking up all that trash that comes across the digital divide. What are they missing during those lost hours? What did past generations get that these kids don't? A lot of reading and imaginative thought, AND an unawareness of the dark side of the world.

There are a few educational programs out there that I admire. I think the Noggin Channel is a good channel for kids. The History Channel and Discovery Network is also good. However, at the same time, I think that time is best spent in a good book where minds are free to wonder and imaginations can run wild in youthful innocence. Children need to think, and TV, no matter how much it teaches them, only leads them to answers. It doesn't allow them to explore the options first. It inhibits their ability to think for themselves, and it fosters poor communications skills as well because there is no interaction with the tube.

So, the future for children lies in the hands of parents. Believe me, TV is not a positive influence if not controlled properly. It is merely entertainment, and, for the most part, it's mindless entertainment. The more mindless activities parents let their children participate in, the more mindless the children will become. Many parents are aware of this issue, and they try to set limits. There are those out there, however, who prefer to let the kids slobber over the remote. These people think that a simple bedtime story is sufficient, but it's not. Those parents have lost the war. The only way to win the war is to set limits up and stick to them. Children who spend more time in a book and playing outside will grow, thrive, and positively surprise you every day.

What Can Be Explained...

If you've been reading my last two posts about Carl Sandburg, as well as previous musings about my poetic philosophy, you will know that I reject academia. Although I have a post-graduate degree, I have always been skeptical of the poets and writers who taught my creative writing courses. The first question I had was, "If they're so good, then why are they teaching instead of writing?" Never ask a professor that to his face, though, because you'll never pass the workshop if you do! But, over fifteen years later, I still ponder that question.

Not only do I think many academics (not all) are inept writers who are out of touch with the real world, I blame them for taking poetry hostage. Almost all of the critics these days are PhDs. Almost all of the poetry journals being published are published through university presses and are edited by PhDs. I know. I worked for one. And, to boot, almost every poem published in one of these journals or the infamous anthologies of poetry are written by PhDs or students who are getting their PhDs. Chances are, if you find a poet without a post-graduate degree in English, that poet is a friend of someone who does have one. I know this too because I've seen a lot of good poetry rejected so that the editor's colleague could be published instead.

Carl Sandburg recognized this trend in the early 1960s. As I've pointed out before, this is pretty much when the trend began. And he was fairly obstinate when the academics tried to analyze his poetry. In fact, he's famous for saying that, "what can be explained is not poetry." There is a lot of truth to this, and in this statement, Sandburg is giving the reader all of the power of interpretation instead of the high-brow academics.

Sandburg believed in the mystery of poetry. He believed that the message should speak differently to every reader. Remember, he wrote about the common citizen's plight, and it didn't matter if he was talking about Chicago or North Carolina because he believed his poetry could strike a chord in everybody's heart as Americans. And he rejected the metaphysical interpretation of poetry as absurd. While academics were comparing his imagery to garner deeper meaning, Sandburg contested that he wrote "simple poems...which continue to have an appeal for simple people," and that he has "been trying to learn to read, to see and hear, and to write all my life."

You see, that is what poetry truly is. Take it away from the metaphysical analysis that PhDs prefer; view the poet as someone who is expressing his perceptions of the world in real terms that people can understand. Every good poem should have expressive imagery, and the poem should tell a story. Why shouldn't it end there? Why shouldn't people be able to be moved by the simplicity of it in their own way? There is no reason why. Well, there is one. If poetry were returned to this state, that would mean that most of the critics out there would no longer have a job. They would no longer be able to publish their psycho- and meta- analysis of the poet and the poetry. They could no longer hold it hostage and call it their own.

The real problem, as I see it, is that this academic approach to poetry has bred poets who are afraid to write about the real world, and they are afraid to write "simple poems for simple people." We now live in a world where poetry is either metaphysical or "Hallmarked." Neither is good, and neither reflect the true art that Sandburg practiced -- the true art of poetry. His poetry changed a nation, and we need another true poet to take his place who is not afraid to stand up to the PhDs and bring poetry back to the people.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Imagists

I introduced Carl Sandburg in my last post, and I alluded to the Imagist movement of the early 20th Century. Since then, I have received several inquiries regarding the Imagists and what they stood for. In particular, I was asked why the movement did not last very long, yet I make such a big deal out of it. Well, in that spirit, I would like to take a moment to define the Imagists and explain how, even though the movement was short-lived, it was the most influential movement in poetry of the 20th Century.

The Imagist movement started in the 1910s in England, but it was American-born Ezra Pound who, while living in London, really guided the movement to fame. Although "imagism" is a rather vague word in the context of poetry, it essentially defined a movement that directly conflicted the values of Victorian-era poetry. It didn't want to be flowery, it didn't want rhyme as its main component, and it didn't want to allude to something esoteric. In the words of Richard Aldington, Imagist poetry should give a direct treatment of a subject; it should have as few adjectives as possible; it should show the subject with a hardness of treatment as it really is, not as one wished it to be; it should have individuality of rhythm; and it should be precise and use the exact word.

Ezra Pound interpreted this as using simple, everyday language with the use of vivid images that paint a picture of the poem in the mind of the reader. He wanted it to focus on concrete subjects that were a part of everyday life. It was Pound's influence that launched the Imagist movement, and his argument to the high-brow critics was that it was derived from the French symbolist movement along with Chinese, Japanese, and Greek poetry. At this time, translation of poetry from these languages was a popular trend, and he made a successful argument that the Imagist movement was grounded in historical philosophies.

Many new and upcoming poets were testing the Imagist waters, along with some veteran poets who had tired of the elaborate verse of the late 19th Century. Pound edited an anthology of poetry in 1914 called Des Imagistes which included the works of Aldington, Hilda Dolittle, F.S. Flint, William Carlos Williams, James Joyce, and Ford Madox Hueffer.

The avant garde of poetry was as it is today -- very critical of anything that bucks the system. Pound responded to criticism of the lack of rhyming by stating, "One discards rhyme, not because one is incapable of rhyming neat, fleet, sweet, meat, treat, eat, feed, but because there are certain emotions or energies which are not to be represented by the over-familiar devices or patterns."

What Pound was reacting to was a shift in culture. Pound did not share the same beliefs as did Carl Sandburg who was to come to the scene later. Pound was still an elitist to an extent, and he was an odd fellow as well. He ran in social circles where he put himself on the pedestal, and he was as guilty of trying to "own" poetry as any of the critics he fought. At one time, it was necessary for new poets to obtain Pound's approval to have a chance at getting published. This was one reason that Robert Frost moved to England during Pound's time in that country. His relationship with Pound was one of the factors that contributed to his acceptance, even though he did not publish Imagist poetry himself.

Once many poets began to embrace Imagism, Pound turned on his heels on the movement and founded a new movement which took the ideas of Imagism and personalized it more. I believe this was Pound's ego at work. He wanted to see how many people would follow him, so he turned coat on the movement and went in another direction. Sure enough, his influence was powerful enough to draw people away from Imagism, and the "school" of poetry soon dissolved.

However, schools of poetry are nothing more than a group of poets who proclaim the same points of view. Just because the group dissolves doesn't mean the ideas go away. Once Imagism appeared, its effects were long-lasting and remain today. Its ideas paved the way for free verse, for example, and it gave poets the courage to stand up and write from the heart rather than write poetry that sounded musical. It gave poets the ability to write about the world as they saw it, and if that world was as hard as stone and as cold as steel, they had a way to express those feelings.

Enter Carl Sandburg. His was a true American art because he wrote about the American experience from the people's perspective. Had he of been confined to the standards of 19th Century poetry, he would not have been able to write from the heart and to capture the feelings and emotions that he was able to capture. Like I said in the last post, Sandburg used every convention that came out of the Imagists movement. His poetry was as hard as stone, it used everyday language, it never rhymed, and it focused on everyday subjects and material. He also combined metered line with free verse.

So, out of this short-lived movement came a new breed of poet who was free to experiment and explore. Although the movement itself lasted for only a few years, its effects are still felt today. And as was then, the high-brow critics still argue that its not a pure art. Hogwash!