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.
Each 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:
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