The Poetic Craft - The Said and the Unsaid

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

-- Walt Whitman "Song of Myself"

These words are perhaps some of the best penned ones that clearly establish a connection between the soul of the poet and that of humanity as a whole. There is no doubt that it is the innate nature of poetry to reach out to a kindred soul, celebrating some aspect of life, death, divinity, immortality and what not! Genuine poetry never fails to touch a chord in the listener's heart.

The poet "sees and handles that which others dream of, traverses the whole scale of experience, and is representative of man, in virtue of being the largest power to receive and to impart." Given this, one is led to think of the 'poetic experience.' One can never say when the poet is going to plunge into the ocean of his inner being and emerge with unique pearls of wisdom; when he is going to sing the song of sacrifice; or when he is going to dwell on the harsh realities of this material world. The poet is akin to Nature -- productive, unpredictable, dynamic and forceful. The creative power inherent in the poet is limitless just as that of Nature; and the streams of creativity are constantly flowing just as the constant flux in Nature. Naturally, this is what contributes to the freshness of inspired poetry.

The poet dwells in different realms, all of which play a part in shaping his/her essential self. This drifting between the world of reality and the sublime/exalted regions of creativity can be rather demanding. But it is the poet's lot; and it is in this very nomadic existence that the best verses take shape. Inner intuition and the perception of external reality blend to provide unique insight to the poet, which is put across in the poems harnessing the power Words are of course the very essence of poetry. Words are of course the very essence of poetry. But poems that feature excellent economy of words are often the most powerful ones.Japanese Haiku poems are brilliant examples in this regard, just intimating, alluding and thus giving voice to the unsaid. The meaningful silences that the poet chooses to leave in a poem are also very potent. The ellipses in a poem and its incompleteness are often that which touches upon the abstract, the unknown, things which transcend this material world. A real connoisseur of poetry should be able to grasp that which is left unsaid by the poet, that which is left open to myriad interpretations, that which challenges the notion of perfection or completeness.

The artist of this issue is Abhishekh Acharya.

Dr.Jayasree Ramakrishnan Nair

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