Saturday, January 28, 2012

Poetic Reflections Week 24: Larry Meredith

Tell us about yourself.

My name, which I write under, is Larry Eugene Meredith. I live in Delaware with my wife of fifty years. Yeah, I’m old. I have three kids, several cats and very little money. I walk a lot and I write a lot.
Tell me about your blog, the name, what does it mean to you?
I have several Blogs dedicated to different subjects. Two are dedicated to my poetry. “Blossom and Weeds” are poems I wrote from 1954 through 1980. “Old Man and the Syllables” those I wrote since 1980, most of which are from the last decade. The title is a takeoff on Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea”.
My regular whatever-strikes-my-fancy Blog is “Drinking of Elder Men”. The title is taken from a poem I wrote called “Time II”, which contained the lines:

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men,
As if they exist.

Among other Blogs I keep up is “All the Monsters in My Mind” consisting of my short fiction.
When did you start blogging?
I began with a website in GeoCities sometime in the early-to-mid 1990s called, “Nitewrit’s Lair”. I don’t think the term Blog was in use yet. I began my current Blogs in 2008 with a Blog called, “Night Writing in the Morning Light” that I still do. It consists of essays on various Christian thoughts and Scripture. The title was based on Psalm 42:8.
Your first poem? Remember?
The earliest poem I have was called “Ballad of Peppy the Pup”, a parody of “Ballad of Davy Crockett”. I was 12 when I wrote. The earliest poems I have that weren’t parodies were written when I was 13:
The Goodbye Tango
Means it’s time to go.
The night has slipped away,
It is tapping the day.
The sun is up so
Play the Goodbye Tango
We have danced all night.
The dawn is rising bright.
Wasn’t it fun, though?
Play the Goodbye Tango.
The record player goes
With songs of prose
About love and romance
As through the dark we’d dance.
But all good things end.
The stars grew dim
And the moon grew low.
Play the Goodbye Tango.

The other one is “My Little White Lamb”, a country song. It was published a couple years after I wrote it and recorded a year after that. It went right to obscurity.

She came into my life

Like a little white lamb,

But she went out

Like a big roaring lion.
Why did she double-cross me
At the crossroads of life?
Why, oh why, did she leave me?
I will just walk along the streets
Alone and weary.
All alone in this world without her.
Or ending it down by the river
Because I feel so lowdown and blue.
Was I ever so down right untrue
Or unfaithful,
To her in our attempt at true love,
To make her sad, my little white lamb,
Or has love just flown like a dove?
When they lay me in that big cold coffin,
And when that black hearse starts on its slow way,
Then will you remember how I loved you
Right until that end, my dying day?
You came into my life
Like a little white lamb,
But you went out like a big roaring lion.
There on the doorstep you left me,
All alone and crying.

What are your writing inspirations?
I don’t know. That is a mystery to me. Everything and anything, I suppose. Writing just happens beyond my complete control. Some call it a gift; I think it is more a curse or incurable disease. Write I must, I can’t stop if I wanted to.
How do you define poetry as “Good”? Do you revise your work?
I revise my work over and over. I never feel completely satisfied with it. As far as what is “good” poetry…I think art is very subjective. It is a matter of individual taste. I believe these elements should be present to make a “good” poem. A sense of music to the lines. Take a shopping list: toilet paper, peas, bread, cheese, milk. It is a list, very flat. We can give it a sense of music by rearrangement: Bread, milk, cheese/Toilet paper, peas. So thought goes into construction and word use to give it a rhythm and musical quality. It doesn’t have to rhyme, just flow nicely off the tongue. Comprehension. I think a poem should be understandable. Understanding may not be easy, the reader might have to work at it, but in the end it should be understandable and not gibberish that just sounds pretty. Art should communicate. Meaning and purpose. The poem should have a meaning or a purpose behind it. It doesn’t have to be a profound meaning, but there should be at least purpose. If it is simple a description then that is the purpose.
When did you start writing poetry? Do you write fiction as well?
I began knowingly writing as writing when I was 10. I was performing material and co-publishing a newspaper by 11. I probably began writing poems from the start. Most my early poems were parodies of popular songs. I was also writing fiction and little plays, mostly comedy. I did stand-up in high school and incorporated some of my poems into my routines. I also did my first public reading of 26 of my poems when I was 17. I started getting stuff published regularly and often in the 1960s, both fiction, nonfiction and poetry. (I was paid for these things, too.) Two of my poems were included in an anthology of American Poetry in 1970.
Do you have a favorite author or poet?
My favorite poets in my youth were Edgar Allan Poe, whose work really got me interested in poetry; Edwin Arlington Robinson, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson and Carl Sandburg. I’ve enjoyed many other poets since. My early inspirational writers were Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, Evan Hunter, Henry Gregor Felson, Charles Beaumont, Sinclair Lewis and Ernest Hemingway.
Favorite quote?
“It is better to remain silent and be though a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.” This has been attributed to different people. I always attributed it to my grandmother, but it really is a paraphrase from Proverbs.
Why do you support Jingle Poetry Community, including Jingle Poetry @ The Gooseberry Garden?
Because I feel it is important to have a place where poets can share their work with other poets and whom else might stop by to read. Poetry needs outlets in this world to keep it alive.
What’s your plan for your future writing?
Just to keep on doing it as long as I can.


Hyde Park Poetry Palace said...

hi, the poem you write when you are 13 is cool,

love the opening line, perfectly fun and beautiful.

Jingle Poetry At Olive Garden said...

love the quote you stated here, excellent interview.