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john k zimmerman

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john k zimmerman

My Poetic [11.25]
My Poetics[#13]
My Poetics [#10]
My Poetics [#8]
My Poetics [#11.2]
My Poetics [#14]
My Poetics [#7]
My Poetics [#2]
My Poetics [#11.1]
My Poetics [#1]
My Poetics [#9]
My Poetics [#4]
           >> View all

My Poetics [#12]
by john k zimmerman   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, March 21, 2005
Posted: Monday, March 21, 2005

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FACT AND FICTION IN POETRY





Occasionally, one gets the feeling that some readers regard everything one writes in the first person as gospel truth. On the one hand, this is a tribute to my writing, I suppose. Somehow, through language, rhythm and imagery what I have written strikes the reader as real. On the other hand, it is an absurd and limiting notion. If I wrote only about the events of my life I would either run out of material, or fall asleep form boredom in short order. Besides, I am not that much of an exhibitionist, or an egoist, or both. (As poets, we are, of course show offs and egotistical enough to presume that people will read what we write.)

I will claim a measure of truth in what I write. Truth as I have lived it. Given a certain situation, my work answers the question "what if?" Specifically what if I were there how would I react, how would I feel? In that sense, my work is autobiographical. But in another sense, my works are works of imagination. It is imagination that counts – that ability to put yourself into a situation not your own and to be able to convincingly articulate another point-of-view as if you owned it. Even incidents that actually happened are passed through the ringer of imagination. The reader must decide if the poet’s vision is adequate, or accurate.

My poetry is of “the been there, done that” sort, cobbled together from the events of my life. It is also answers the question: “what if I had been there”, cut from whole cloth and sown with imagination. Which poems are which?

I’ll never tell ……………..


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Reviewed by Gwen Dickerson 3/24/2005
Many new writers are alarmed to discover that quite a few readers assume that their poetry is all personal fact. Whereas most of the time, a writer might relate personal events, there are times when a writer's creative urges immerse him in pure fantasy or a mixture of fact and fantasy. It's called poetic license. I've learned not to assume a writer's works are always his personal accountings. Therefore, I try to always focus on the poem's worth, and then comment on my opinion of it. One of the greatest tools of a writer/poet is his imagination. That's what adds seasoning to the dish! Well written article, John.
Reviewed by m j hollingshead 3/22/2005
well done



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