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  • Writer's pictureKyle Lee

Mountain Views – Issue One

Like many of my ilk and generation, I grew up as an avid reader and lover of comic books. As my mother tells it, she introduced me to the world of superheroes in an effort to get me to read at a young age. It obviously worked and I still remember the first issue I ever read and owned. Transformers Volume 1 Issue 3. You’ve not lived till you’ve seen Spider-Man take on Megatron. Or not. Mileage may vary. I bring this up because I always found the letter pages at the back of each issue fascinating. So much so, that I sent my own letters to the publishers here and there in hopes my commentary would be published. I never quite got the full letter but I did have a question printed in Savage Dragon Volume I Issue 3. It's as if “Volume 1 Issue 3” has some cosmic significance. I’ll leave that to the cosmic neon frog gods (Jim, Jolene, Jordan, Lemmy, and Bob in no particular order). Each letter page owned its own clever name associated with the title of the comic. For Transformers it was “Transmissions”. Why does this matter? Because I received an email from a former student related to writing and poetry. I keep calling it “Viewer Mail” in my head. I do not have a Youtube channel despite the encouragement of numerous former students, but I maintain my position that I have “a face for radio and a voice for pantomime.” We don’t need another podcast in this world either. All this to say “my mind wandered.” What would I call a series of posts in which I answer “viewer” mail? Mountain Views. Alas, we have “Mountain Viewer Mail.” Claire C. asks in her email if “verbing a noun” would break the rules of poetry? In my response, I gave her a few points to think over. One, all words are essentially made up. This isn’t news to anyone. The fact that dogs are called dogs and cats are called cats is the result of arbitrary assignments. I doubt anyone went out into the ancient world and said “hot damn! That’s a cat!” The second would be the more specific example of William Shakespeare. While I will readily admit that his work causes me to grunt and roll my eyes, I recognize his significance. According to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, ol’ Billy invented 1,700 words that continue to be used in the English language to this day. Look it up in the Oxford English dictionary and they’ll say it’s more like 3,000. A third point I take from a lesson learned from poet and author Joe Milazzo. He once spoke about “Moves in Contemporary Poetry” and shared with his class a list compiled by Mike Young and Elisa Gabbert. It is a fascinating list through and through but the one move of most relevance would be number five a.k.a “Verbing a noun or other nonverb.” Definitive, yes? It is possible I am defensive about this rule as I remember presenting a short story to a workshop that put this move into play. There were two individuals who took issue to my “verbing a noun” and it struck me as the most innocuous thing to pick at. If you want the specific story, please see my previous post about “Items Not Found in Home Depot.” As to whether or not this breaks the rules of poetry, I say not. Every poem is its own planetary system. The solar system may be sonnets or odes but each planet with its moons (or lack there of) possesses its own gravity, atmosphere and shadow to cast upon the universe. Venus may be Emily Dickinson. Shakespeare may set up shop on Jupiter. Percy Bysshe Shelly may take up space in Uranus. Either way. It's your poem. It's your planet. It's your rules. Noun away, Claire C. Noun away! Photograph taken, copyrighted and provided by Juxtaposedphotography. Used by explicit permission from the artist.

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