Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Poetry in Motion

Maybe it's because I've been traveling more often lately, but I've found myself fixating on the strange rhythms and patterns of business life, the purgatorial cab rides and waiting rooms. What's interesting to me is the way people strive (with varying effort and degrees of success) to remain individuals and retain some humanity despite spending vast amounts of time in environments that are designed specifically to minimize individualism for the sake of efficiency. Small gestures stand out: the stewardess mothering the exhausted businessmen and women on the late flight between cities, the cabbie telling his life story to someone he's just met and will likely never see again.

It isn't easy to write poems about any of this without floating off into the realm of sociology or descending into cliche, but I do think there are poems here, however transient they may be. In the context of huge, otherwise dehumanizing systems, small gestures become disproportionately meaningful. I think good poems mimic those small gestures, connecting what is individual and specific to what is larger and more universal.

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