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    Words: Poetry in Motion

    By Michele Karlsberg

    Michele Karlsberg: How important is accessibility of meaning? Should one have to work hard to “solve” the poem? Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing?

    Philip Robinson: Whenever I think of the access to meaning, it conjures up the mixture of words and their intentions. We know that words in and of themselves have an impact. So, the written word has to be clear, comprehensible, and, at best, make a connection of the reader to the writer’s message. It is the perception that the person who reads these words will interpret, and hopefully understand what the writer was attempting to say. However, there are times when a reader might not completely understand what has been written. This could possibly be because of the particular subject matter. Clearly, not everyone will find personal significance or relevancy to everyone’s work. But, the work should be accessible and uphold some form of universality. Poetry is a storytelling concept that can give people examples of things we all experience and or have in common.

    Poems in and of themselves should be tangible and alive with purpose. They can capture the sounds and flavors of life, the actions we take to move beyond certain things, and be expressions of how we live life in its completeness or the search for fullness. Poetry is a life written onto paper. When we read it, something pours onto you the reader like, “Ah, I am happy to be introduced to you.” Poetry has power in its words, and creates within the reader a deep passion to want to read more.

    The written form of poetry over the years has changed for me. We each evolve and grow in life, and that process can be reflective in what we write. Current social issues, emotional and physicality concepts are big now with me and other people as well. I write with a sense of promise of a better tomorrow. I write about the pain. I write to seek answers. In poetry, there is a sense of sadness. But, we also have to articulate a message of hope. Poetry has been a revolutionary call to action regarding social justice and social change. Today, when I think of my poetry, I am evoking justice through love, survival by way of confronting the ugly truths, and ultimately being real and down-right honest with myself and others.

    Philip Robinson has been a writer-in-progress for about forty-six years, beginning with his college days. He finds complete happiness in writing, and, more importantly, sharing the written word with others. His latest book is “We Still Leave a Legacy” (We Still Leave a Legacy Press, 2017).

    Mercedes Lewis: I feel that access to poetry is more important than accessibility of meaning. If the poetry is not available, there is no hope of understanding. Meaning is open to individual interpretation. Even when a reader empathizes with the poet, we cannot be certain that their understanding and interpretation is that which the poet was actually expressing or attempting to convey.

    Poems can be simplistic, or very complex. Even within the complex structure, there should be some spark, some understanding of, or some affinity with the piece. If the reader does not get some “message” or visceral reaction, be it laughter, tears, a smile, anger, something, then perhaps that poem is nor “for” that person.

    My idea of what poetry is has not changed, however, my concept of the work involved in writing poetry has changed drastically. Generally, poetry comes to me in complete form, and I must scramble to get it down before it is lost. That has not changed. However, I used to think that was the end of the process. The piece was finished, complete, perfect.

    Recently, I have found that not to be the case. Sometimes it must be tweaked, rearranged, and sometimes even rewritten to ensure that it is understandable, that it flows as intended. I find that reading the piece aloud, several times, has helped me with that part of the process. Things sound much different once they are in the universe than they may have in my head.

    Mercedes Lewis, a member of the Golden Crown Literary Society Board of Directors, is the author of “Glimpses of a Fractured Soul” (Blue Beacon Books by Regal Crest, 2017). For more information:

    Michele Karlsberg Marketing and Management specializes in publicity for the LGBT community. This year, Karlsberg celebrates twenty-eight years of successful book campaigns.