Nothing new about this year, really — nothing new about the poets under consideration, unless you don’t know them. What’s new in Orem, on the other hand, is also old: car washes. It used to be there was only one car wash with a pull-you-thru tunnel: SuperSonic Car Wash. Last spring, construction started up in an empty lot in front of Costco on 800 South; Valerie and I speculated on what it could possibly be — a bank branch, a McDonalds, a drug store. So we were suitably surprised when the sign went up: Quick Quack Car Wash. Just about the same time, construction began on the empty lot on Center Street opposite the post office. It was, proudly announced some big signs, a Wiggy Wash, “North America’s Largest Car Wash,” come to rescue Oremites from sedate, nay stolid, car washes.
SuperSonic. Quick Quack. Wiggy Wash. No, alliteration is not making a comeback— it never left. But it’s been cheapened by this kind of usage. And yet, people respond, as they always do, to beauty, to poetry — with hunger. We recognize this response, but often make the mistake of considering it the poet’s intent. Amy Lowell had something to say about that, and it is good to be reminded, occasionally, of what she said:
Amy Lowell as a debutante, age 16.
No one expects a man to make a chair without first learning how, but there is a popular impression that the poet is born, not made, and that his verses burst from his overflowing heart of themselves. As a matter of fact, the poet must learn his trade in the same manner, and with the same painstaking care, as the cabinet-maker.
His heart may overflow with high thoughts and sparkling fancies, but if he cannot convey them to his reader by means of written word he has no claim to be considered a poet. A workman may be pardoned, therefore, for spending a few moments to explain and describe the technique of his trade. A work of beauty which cannot stand an intimate examination is a poor and jerry-built thing. Continue Reading →