Sunday, February 1, 2009
Another Visit with Harry Gilleland
I posted a review of Harry Gilleland's book, Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man, earlier, so I won't review the book again except to say I really liked it.
Wednesday February 4, we'll discuss the difficulty in trying to write a novel, as Harry talks about how hard it is, and at times discouraging.
Of course Harry is known for his poetry and storeoms, and for good reason. He's a great poet. However, as with any author, he would love to see his book sell. Every book needs a good home, and his book is a good one to have in any home.
Today I'm going to swipe parts of an interview between Harry and Norm Goldman, Publisher and Editor of Bookpleasures.com. Mr. Goldman's name is a link to the complete interview.
It is sometimes said that people in times of need turn to poetry. Is this true, and if so, why?
I believe this is probably true. It is because in time of need people want comforting and to get in touch with their emotions. Poetry is capable of offering insight into situations from a point of view that the person had not considered previously. It makes them focus, examine their emotions, and think about what is important in their lives. Reading poetry can also be soothing and relaxing. It can take their mind off their problems for a while. Poetry has much to offer to its readers.
Would you say you get clarity about a subject from writing a poem about it? If so, please elaborate.
Definitely so! If I don't have a clear idea about the subject of my poem, then how could I convey to the reader the exact meaning I intended him/her to get from reading it? In writing a poem, I mull it over in my mind for several days before actually writing it down. I analyze what my feelings and thoughts on the subject are and what message I hope to convey. Writing a poem about a subject makes me crystallize my own beliefs and feelings regarding that issue.
How would you define a good poem?
A good poem is one that connects with its readers. Regardless of the form – rhyming or free verse, short or long, etc.—any poem that touches the mind and emotions of the readers so that they take away something from the poem is a good poem. A good poem will linger in the readers' minds and makes them consider their own feelings and beliefs anew.
(The final question and answer I'll use from that interview concerns a subject near to my heart, the correct use of language.)
How do you feel as to the way language and words are used today?
It is terrible how language and words are mistreated in today's society. In medical school we had to dumb down test questions because some medical students had never heard commonplace words, and remember these are the supposedly the best and brightest of college graduates.
Spelling and grammar seem to be a lost art among today's students and young workers. I am appalled at the poor quality of writing one encounters on the Internet. Today's young people seem to think they have no need to be able to speak and write well and correctly. After all, doesn't the computer have a spell-check and grammar-check?
Should I correct my own grown children when they mangle some word usage, they simply shrug and say, "Whatever!" Such is the sorry state of language, grammar, and spelling in the modern high-tech world.
(That last answer is why I want Harry for an editor for 4RV Publishing.)