The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

My Aim is True

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It’s early in the morning, I’m on the couch, the sun is shining, and with both the front and back door open, there is an incredible breeze. For a summer morning, it is perfection. It has been a while since I’ve felt this relaxed at home. I feel true. I’ve had the opportunity to read more as of late – poetry actually. I haven’t been this invested in the well-placed word in years. While I’ve always taught Creative Writing, I have not necessarily written, or read, creatively in some time. I have introduced several pieces to hundreds of students, but they have been the same pieces for a decade. I will finally have new words to bring into my classroom – new emotions, insights, investments, excitement. I’m finally excited.

Jessica Care Moore, Roger Bonair-Agard, Kevin Coval, Matt Gano, Cristopher Gibson, Saul Williams, Beau Sia, Sierra DeMulder, and several others have allowed me to better understand the honesty in words. They’ve brought everything I loved about 19th century British poetry – the wordplay, the transparency, the visceral truth – and brought it straight into the new world. They do it properly.

Hemingway, also did things properly. He was obvious with his symbolism, easy with his conversation, and while he was a genius with metaphors and similes, he made sure that he left everything on the table. After all, why write something in order to leave the reader confused, or to not ease ones soul, or bring forth emotions with which the everyman can understand. From this, I learned to be honest in my own writing – as matter-of-fact as possible.

I am no Hemingway, Moore, Coval, Williams, or DeMulder, but unless I learn from the masters, my aim will never be true.

About Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin spent more than a decade in Education as a high school English teacher, and is now an Instructional Coach for the Longview School District. He is also the founder of The Poetry Question, an online journal which focuses on reviews of small press poetry publications, and runs a regular series called "The Power of Poetry," where notable poets share their personal stories of how poetry has affected their lives. Margolin resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, and daughter.

One comment on “My Aim is True

  1. The Running Son
    July 14, 2013

    Great thoughts Chris. I’m glad that batch of books had such a renewing effect. Your students will reap the benefits of your freshened enthusiasm for words—the best part of all. And the lesson on clarity… so important for poets…me..not to write monologs in alien languages–which is what a lack of clarity is, pretty much.

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