Concrete poetry in the abstract
Sometimes in my poetry I struggle with the concrete. Or maybe it’s the opposite. The abstract.
I don’t know if I think abstractly. Depends how you define “abstract”, noun, verb, or adjective. I’m certainly not concise. I may take things out of context. Perhaps I’m theoretical. In art terms, I would say not so much. But when you look at poetry, it’s the “big ideas” that I’ve always been taught to eschew. You can talk about them, but you do so by carving the concrete out of the abstract. You give Love shape. You paint Patience.
So, what’s my problem? Sometimes my concrete seems awfully conceptual.
I think in science and math. I’m not a scientist. I’m not a mathematician. I don’t know enough about either subject, but I always want to know more. And when I’m thinking thoughts, it comes out in poetry. How much more concrete can you get than science? But it seems to me if you get too concrete, you move beyond the generalizable. People reading might not understand the terminology or relate. You’ve moved back to a concept.
Certainly many people have turned to poetry who are much more scientifically minded than I. And I will probably always pull from the things I learn, but finding balance between the concrete and abstract is something I will always struggle with when I write.
Our lives curve,
supported at both ends
then falling with our own weight,
care given to infants
and infirm. Life
left to swoop between.
An ideal arch.