Poetry improves lives: a guest post by Jon Freedman

This is a guest post, a courtesy of a fellow blogger and poet Jon Freedman – another enlightening story on how we can enrich our lives through words.

Hi. I’m Jon Freedman. My blog, middaymidlife.com chronicles the midlife changes I’m going through after my 28 year marriage ended last April.

In addition to writing about my journey, I write about books and music important to me. Though I haven’t written on poetry, my very first blog post concludes with a poem I wrote, Wrecked in Rejkavik

While i rarely write poetry these days, my appreciation for the art form has not waned. Certain poems remain so poignant, so powerful that I am forever awed and and perhaps, even a tad jealous of their existence.

A good poem blends sound and meaning. A good poem is a song without music, meant not to just be read, but read aloud. A good poem has no shelf life.

I’d like to present two poems by Charles Bukowski. The first dark, the second not. Extremely different but connected by the power of the simple words.

I discovered Bukowski late in life. I knew of him but wasn’t at all familiar with his oeuvre. I was somewhat familiar with his fiction, but not his poems.

Bukowski’s personal story is a fascinating study of an artist who finally reaches recognition later in life, enabling him to focus on his art. There are a ton of biographies on the Interweb, if you’re interested.

Reading about Bukowski’s life raises the debate over art appreciation and how critical it is to understand the context of the artist’s life. As an English professor, and writer, Nabokov summarized it best, “does one need to know the spider to appreciate the web?”

In literature I find myself leaning towards “yes”. Though not in music or fine arts for the most part.

What say you? I’d love to hear your perspective on the question of the importance of knowing an artist’s “backstory” for lack of a better term, to appreciate the creation.

Until then,

Stay in touch. Share, comment, connect!

Jon Freeman

The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth

if I suffer at this typewriter think how I’d feel among the lettuce- pickers of Salinas? I think of the men I’ve known in factories with no way to get out- choking while living choking while laughing at Bob Hope or Lucille Ball while 2 or 3 children beat tennis balls against the wall. some suicides are never recorded.

From Love is a Dog From Hell by Charles Bukowski

The Laughing Heart

your life is your life don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission. be on the watch. there are ways out. there is light somewhere. it may not be much light but it beats the darkness. be on the watch. the gods will offer you chances. know them. take them. you can’t beat death but you can beat death in life, sometimes. and the more often you learn to do it, the more light there will be. your life is your life. know it while you have it. you are marvelous the gods wait to delight in you.

From Betting On The Muse by Charles Bukowski

Jon Freedman is a Washingtonian whose love for words was inspired while growing up in a household where reading was much more than fundamental. After college, he worked in advertising and marketing. Jon has worked for start-ups, Fortune 500’s as well as marketing in pro sports. Along the way, he married, and has three adult daughters, who are the lights of his life. When he’s not reading, Jon is busy chronicling his own midlife experiences in the latest chapter of his journey. In addition to writing, Jon is an avid cook and lover of music. You can find his writings at middaymidlife.com


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9 Comments

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  1. Hi, Jon. Nice post. No, I don’t think one needs to have background information on an artist of any kind to enjoy their work whether it be music, art, or poetry. Sight and sound, words on a page are there for the taking by anyone who wishes to dream into them. While I do enjoy biographical, or autobiographical reading, I don’t need it to guide me into art. I think all art stands on its own; it is what the reader/listener/viewer takes away. Meaning is subjective.

    I enjoyed your blog page. Keep writing. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Nice post John. Like you I discovered Bukowski late in life. I love the honesty and anger in his work and how it challenges stereotypes of what constitutes poetry. I am the opposite to annij67 in that I enjoy some insight on a poet and sometimes a poem. It helps to understand their mindset and motivations around poetry. Difference, it’s what makes the world a wonderful place.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I dont believe one needs to know the poet’s life story in order to comprehend/appreciate his/her work. It can be helpful (as far as is possible) to separate the poet from their creation. For example if one knew that a poet was a serial adulterer or beat his/her partner it might prejudice one against them despite the fact their creations where/are supwerb. One can condemn a poet’s way of life but that shouldn’t mean one dismisses their work. Kevin

    Like

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