Sunday, October 05, 2008

A rose by any other name...

What does a Siamese cat have to do with poetry & a book give away? Read on to find out!
Leave a comment in the blog to be put in a draw for 3 giveaways of my book, A Spot Of Bleach & Other Poems and Prose.
Folks I am not a traditional writer. Strangely enough DubbleX & I had the following conversation this morning.
DubbleX said about Cleo, my cat, "She's an unusual Siamese."
"She is," I agreed. "She's officially called an exotic oriental short hair."
"I don't understand," DubbleX said.
"The reason for that," I explained, "is because The Cat Fanciers' Association hasn't decided that flame point Siamese ought to be included in the designation Siamese. This in spite of the fact that the flame point has all the same points as every other Siamese cat. She has bright blue eyes with a pointy face and flame color shading on her back deepening as she matures. My cat is an outcast among her own kind. Born to a tortoise point Siamese mother bred to a exotic oriental flame point male. Thus flame point Cleo is not called a Siamese. "
"That's funny," DubbleX said.
"Funny how?" I asked.
"The way you tell the story," he says "plus it reminds me of your poetry."
"Explain," I say.
"Well," he says, "You said there are poets out there who criticize your narrative style & the way you write and they don't consider your work poetry."
"That's true," I said. "Because my poetry tells a story, and is not all about the metaphor."
"I like the way you write," DubbleX said. "Your words have an impact, they make me feel & experience things. They make me think too plus I understand them. I don't have to work hard to interpret what you're saying. I like the way each poem tells a story."
"Yes, the impact is what counts. Sometimes though the impact makes people so angry that they hate my work. You don't know how many times people have told me I'm not a poet."
"They're wrong," said DubbleX, "You are a poet. You have your own style with your own rhythm and energy. Not everyone can see. Your poetry combined with your energy reminds me of sitting, listening to the blues."
I thought about this conversation more as the day wore on. I thought about how this related to my entire life, I'm an outcast Jew, an outcast poet, and now I have a cat named Cleo who is an outcast Siamese flame point cat who is called an exotic oriental cat.


  1. Dub has a very good point. When the blues first appeared, people said it wasn't music. Your poetry speaks to the parts of me that want to read poetry and feel the things poetry can do... so to my mind, you're a poet. Hey, if Damien Hirst's an artist, anything goes!

  2. I love the way you write Joy! I visit another blog with poetry, I don't know if you have come across Paige?
    She used to write wonderful poetry, but not so much any more. Thanks for visiting my blog I will now visit your often!

  3. Just dropped by to say hello - I'm Heather, Julia's Mum. Love your tangle of Siamese cats, they obviously get on well together. Our cat is asleep on my pillow right now and gives Julia's little dog a hard time when they visit. Love your writing too, keep up the good work.

  4. Just dropped in to say hello - I'm Heather, Julia's Mum. I love your tangle of cats and your tattoo. Wish I looked like that, though the wings might be a bit OTT.

  5. I believe that you are a good writer, judging from your post, which is very good.
    Thanks for your visit and kind words.

  6. Your Give Away reminds me of Allen Ginsberg's notion of Generosity! Generosity! You both have so much to offer, please keep putting it out there for us.

  7. Anonymous6:42 PM

    I have to concur with the sentiments expressed above; Dub hits the nail on the head here. As a continually aspiring writer of experimental prose myself, I've met with more than my share of brick wall responses. But similarly to what Dub has told you in reference to the blues, a friend of mine once favourably compared my own style to jazz, in that it's freeform and whilst borrowing enough of the clothes of established forms to be approachable. Jazz as a form has a similar history to blues in both its roots and the struggle faced by its purveyors to be accepted into mainstream culture. But, a good century later, there's no-one who would seriously dispute the legitimacy of either form. The same, I feel, goes for your writing. Your ability to encompass the vital and often fleeting narratives that collectively make up the truth of human experience, and in a way which is both punchy and inspiring, is a very real talent which ought to be envied.
    Like all things, certain modes of writing and other forms of creative expression fall in and out of popular favour with the tides of time. But favourable or not, the work retains its value, and yours has greater value than most.

  8. Joy I did enjoyed your cat conversation here.tanks for visiting Rendan(The matchbox). send me some of your works. I may translate it in to Farsi. happy happy joy joy

  9. Anonymous10:34 PM

    Interesting, everyone is an outcast in some way to the rest of society. Whenever someone, in some way, steps out of society's norm you get tagged as an outsider. That doesn't bother me now as it did when I was younger. I sometimes find colouring outside of society's lines gives me a bit of freedom that I need.

    If you remember when I first contacted you on Facebook, it was because your writing was different and it intrigued me enough to say hi to you. Outsiders, whether by nationality (or breed), thought, or action; are an essential part of our maturing society.

  10. Hey, thanks for the heads up. I was sick for a while and am slow at getting back. I will check it out...even without being in a giveaway, I always enjoy reading your work:) And, I agree with DoubbleX in that you have a quality about your work that is like the blues...sassy blues!

  11. Dig it! I never knew the difference in the cats - and Dad always had Siamese cats - though they didn't like anyone but him, so I kinda ignored them growing up.

    Bugs me that folks say narrative and poetry can't be one and the same. Paradise Lost was narrative and poetry. Almost everything Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Dante and Homer wrote was narrative AND poetry. Not just poetry, but among the best poetry ever.... Folks can write narrative that isn't poetry or poetry that isn't narrative - but some of the best writings integrate both. And I dig your poetry a lot.

  12. Joy, I don't understand how anyone can decide and decree what is poetry and what isn't poetry... but then, there are those who try to dictate what defines "music" or "art". I love your poetry. It has a style and rhythm all its own. Thank you for sharing your voice with me!

  13. I've been listening to your poetry all afternoon and I must say: Well done!