It is not an actual word, but I like to call it “bardism.”  You know it as poetry.  I am a believer in bardism, and to me it is a free form of art.  Edgar Allan Poe said, “I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of Beauty.”  But, as you are aware, for some time now, words have not needed to rhyme in order to be poetry.  As far as I’m concerned, poetry can be almost anything.  Bob Dylan claims that “a poem is a naked person…” and some poets, like those in Bruce Springsteen’s Jungleland, “don’t write nothing at all/They just stand back and let it all be.”  That’s bardism.

Small-Blue-RGB-National-Poetry-Month-LogoEach April, the Academy of American Poets sponsors National Poetry Month, a celebration of  poetry in the United States. And each year since I have been blogging at The Endless Further, I have joined in by offering posts on bards and bardism.

According to the Academy, the goals of National Poetry Month are to:

highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets

• encourage the reading of poems

• assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms

• increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media

• encourage increased publication and distribution of poetry books, and

• encourage support for poets and poetry.

2016 marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month.

I thought I would start the month off with something from the first poet whose work truly inspired me, e. e. cummings.  As I wrote in 2013, “His ‘[in-just] spring’ was the first poem I read that really suggested the possibilities of poetry . . . I think I was in the 3rd or 4th grade, and I loved the way the words were un-capitalized, run together, out of order, and arranged so unusually on the page . . . He wreaked havoc with the form of poetry and the structure of the sentence, he fractured spelling, ect&ect. His Influence on modern poetry is immense . . .”

It being Spring and all, it would be nice to post cummings’ ‘in-just spring’ but the format cannot be reproduced in WordPress (at least, I have not figured out how to do it), so I offer the following instead.  It is from his 1940 collection, 50 Poems, a piece simply titled 38:

cummings-barn2love is the every only god

who spoke  this  earth  so  glad  and  big
even a  thing  all  small  and  sad
man,may  his  mighty  fortress  dig

for love  beginning  means  return
seas who  could  sing  so  deep  and  strong

one queerying  wave  will  whitely  yearn
from each  last  shore  and  home  come  young

so truly  perfectly  the  skies
by merciful  love  whispered  were,
completes its  brightness  with  your  eyes

any illimitable star


One thought on “Bardism


    Posted by hendiadys (an 85 year old man from Great Britain) at allpoetry dot com on Nov 19, 2009

    An almost inaudible tapping?
    Even fainter than lake-water lapping?
    I’m trying to show an
    Example of koan,
    The sound of a single hand clapping.


    i wrote the following, in the 1970s, when i was 30ish

    Zen, 6th century

    1. A special transmission outside of the scriptures.
    2. No dependence upon words or letters.
    3. Direct pointing at the soul of man.
    4. Seeing into one’s own nature and the attainment of Buddhahood.

    Volkswagen, 20th century

    1. A standard transmission underneath the chassis.
    2. Strong dependence upon gasoline.
    3. Goes where it’s pointed.
    4. Seeing out through the windshield and the attainment of Buddhahood.

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