i love poetry

What’s up party poetry people?! Welcome to my poetry blog.  This is my rambling intro to you. My name is Ry. Ry Downey if you’re interested in googling me (giggity) but I’m not sure it will turn up anything interesting. I’m a citizen of Planet Earth and I might be from Mars. Or Venus, because I believe in love more than I do war. Yes, Venus. Definitely Venus. I love the thought of aliens and space–I’m a lover of nature and sunshine and laughing so hard I cry. I love my friends and my family and anything that makes me feel love and appreciation and gratitude for having lived this long on this beautiful rock floating through the stars. And then comes poetry.

I actually didn’t think I was good at poetry. Short stories and longer form stuff were always my go-to thing. In school all my poetry came off sounding like someone trying to write poetry–the kiss of death for any would-be poet. I’ve always had a love for poetry though–early on in life, many different people were instrumental in convincing me that poetry is cool, the list including such luminaries as Robin Williams (Dead Poets Society, anyone!?), Jim Morrison, Jack Kerouac, and my high school English teacher, Dr. Pitts.

About a year ago, I found my voice. And yes, it was as magical as it sounds. I’d always heard of “voice” and how important it is for a writer to have…basically the missing ingredient to any equation of written art. The place where power, thrust, drive, magic in writing come from. The sound of a writer who is confident and aware of the things he is doing in his work. I spent a lot of time wondering if I had found my voice and what it would feel like when I had–would I know it when it came? My answer to this last question is an emphatic YES. When you find your voice it will inspire you to create more and at least feel the confidence necessary to push yourself when it gets to feeling almost impossible. This finding of the voice happened about a year ago. In that time I’ve written about 60-ish poems. I’m not sure how many are good or worthy of being published, but what I do know is that they are capable of affecting people and evoking emotion. It is in this spirit of good faith that I have started this blog. If you happen to like my work, please share it to as many people as possible–and if at all possible, please keep my name next to whatever you share. It is very appreciated. My ego is still alive and well, as you can see. They say what is important is the work itself, but I also argue that these poems contain the most concentrated experiments of alchemy I’ve ever attempted (excusing the labors of love in my relationships). So yes please, keep my name when sharing these things. Oh, and please, if you need to describe me or my work to someone, please use the phrase “acid-drenched Bukowski” somewhere in there. I appreciate it.

Inspirations: Charles Bukowski, Ken Kesey, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Robin Williams, Wallace Stevens, Emily Dickinson, Adrienne Rich, Maya Angelou, Walt Whitman, Hart Crane, Allen Ginsburg, Edgar Allan Poe, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Joy Williams, Nahko Bear, Brandon Boyd, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Hayao Miyazaki, Vincent Van Gogh, Salvador Dali, James Baldwin.


Dictionary Daily: Zephyr

Okay, so lately while reading Infinite Jest for the second time, I suddenly happened upon a word that I haven’t thought of for a long time: zephyr. And seeing as how I haven’t done one of these dictionary daily things in forever and I love me some archaic words, as we probably all know after reading my other D.D. posts, I decided I’d do a little riff on the word zephyr.

I think I first encountered this word in college when reading the poetry of the Romantics. I was confused as to what the hell a Zephyr was–sounded liked some fake mythical animal or something that had the head of a zebra and the body of a fir tree or some crazy shit. I wasn’t too far wrong. The word’s origin is mythological in nature. In Greek Mythology, Zephyrus was the name given to the personification of the West Wind, so said to be the most favorable of all the directional winds, in addition to being the bringer of light spring and early summer breezes. If this wasn’t cool enough, authors as distinguished as Chaucer and Shakespeare have used Zephyrus or just plain “zephyrs” to refer to wind. In fact, it may even be Shakespeare himself in Cymbeline who is the first author to refer to a light, pleasant wind as a “zephyr”– “They are as gentle as zephyrs blowing the violet, not wagging his sweet head.” Yes, I got lots of this from wikipedia, but now it’s in my head and will likely never leave. I just liked the idea that these two giants of the early canon both had a hand in Zephyrus becoming zephyr.

Though zephyr is a word still used today, it is semi-archaic, now being surpassed in favorability by words like breeze and the like.  I think the reason that this word still has some sort of effect on me is that I love how the word is not only a descriptor, but it goes beyond description and becomes representative of  wind. In essence, the word zephyr is also an onomatopoeia.  The word zephyr itself sounds like a whishing wind (whishing also being an onomatopoeia–love that word as well, better make a note). Zephyr can also be used in the adjectival sense and even awkwardly in verb-form if the writer is so inclined, but the true beauty of the word lies in the combination of the relationship between sound and meaning, the capturing almost completely the thing that is supposed to be meant by the word itself. The best comparison I can make when making this point is by saying that Shakespeare might have been correct when he said that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I think he would have been wrong if he had used the word zephyr in his quote. No other word for a light wind would be as perfect as zephyr–though breeze is a convenient and newly developed synonym for wind, the handful of breaths and wind-like sounds in zephyr make breeze no match for zephyr in the battle for being le mot juste–just the right word. So after my pretentious post, I will remove my head from my ass and exclaim to the poets, “BRING BACK THE ZEPHYR!” Thank you to all those who listen!