Every poet hates that line, the I-think-what-the-poet-was-trying-to-say is . . . It makes poets sound like fumbling nincompoops who can’t articulate a thought but thank God there’s some English teacher at Prince William Community College who can help us out.
When I write a poem I never know what I’m trying to say and probably all I want to do is — like the student who petitioned Auden — fool around with words. I’ve been asked in Q&A what my message is. Not a clue. If I actually had a real message I’d print it on a card and hand it out. I seriously doubt that poetry is a message-medium.
Vladimir Nabokov suggest, “Art is a game of intricate enchantment and deception.”
Susan Sontag says, “Writing is a beautiful act. It is making something that will give pleasure to others later.”
Now we’re talking! Enchantment, beauty and pleasure. Let’s go with that. I’m no good at monotony and there’s nothing more monotonous than moralizing about the message.
And now if you’ll excuse me I have to take my cat to the vet. And he is not happy about it!