Bringing a Poem to Be



Bringing a poem into being requires a three-part supporting structure composed of poet-poem-reader. The poet-subject perceives the objective reality outside of himself as being a part of it and then he transforms it by using words, which are the basic elements of poetic images, according to his subjective philosophical-political perception. The poetic image is established by correlating two words having only a distant semantic relationship between themselves with an analogous relation and–according to imagist socialist poetry–a poem is the organization of such poetic images around one or more themes forming a textual integrity.

The being-created process of a poem is a product of the poet-subject’s consciousness and his subconscious.  First, the poet ‘accumulates’ to the poem by living, by all the moments of his life, by all of his acts like reading, watching, experiencing, etc. and by all the acts which he is exposed to. This process can last for months or years and it is included in the being-written process of a poem. The being-created phase of a poem’s development doesn’t last for only a few hours, but for the whole past life of the poet till the being-written moment of the poem, plus a few hours – as Picasso has said about his paintings.

When the quantitative accumulation of the poem – more precisely, the raw poetic material – comes to a certain level, the raw poetic material gets ready for a qualitative transformation and the poem forces the poet to write it by using a trigger material. That trigger material can be any visual, auditory or written thing which starts the being-created process of the poem between the conscious and subconscious of the poet.  The being-created phase of a poem has both active (by the conscious) and passive (by the subconscious) processes which interlace.

The active process of the being-created of a poem depends on the accumulation of poet’s knowledgeof poetics, old and contemporary poetry, and art history, because talent is nothing without knowledge, for creating a work of art.

The accumulated raw poetic material in the mind (both in the conscious and subconscious) of the poet is transformed into a linguistic substance/fabric through words, first verbally in the mind, then written on a paper or with a computer.

Now, the objective reality perceived by the poet has been transformed into an artistic reality by the complex process of the mind of the poet, but that poem is not ‘alive’ yet.

An art piece needs receptors for existence; otherwise it becomes only a personal, private expression of the artist. Therefore, a poem can’t exist without readers.

-           Why would a reader read this poem?

That is the key question which provides the existence of a poem, which brings it to life.

Of course, being a poetry reader needs a certain level of ‘accumulation of knowledge of poetics, old and contemporary poetry, and art history’, not as much as a being a poet, but at a basic level, for being able to perceive a contemporary poem. So, let’s ask again:

-           Why will qualified poetry readers read this poem?

First of all, for establishing a bond between your poem and the readers, your poem must make the readers read it by themselves. Nobody has any obligation to read what you have written.

If a poem can provide readers the possibility of developing empathy with the subject of the poem or find themselves in the subject of the poem, the third stage of existence of the poem will be realized.

Now, your poem is ‘alive’. It is completed, but it hasn’t ended. It will be reproduced again and again in the mind of the readers according to their perception level, and it will live till no reader of it remains.

-           How can we create an ‘alive’ poem?

Your poetic images must reach to the collective unconscious, to its core structures and archetypes and must imply the realities of other persons and societies beyond your unique life. Therefore, as a poet, first you must develop empathy with other persons and must reference their pain, hope, disappointment, happiness, grief, etc.; not only your own.

(Photo: Galina Chirikova)