Here on The Good Men Project, we are constantly absorbed with the question: What is a good man in the 21st century? The presuppositions are that, while we used to think we knew what our lives were supposed to look like, the world has changed, and continues to change ever more rapidly, and so the old answer to the question of what a good man is, is not only not reliably the same as before, but has become a moving target.
My belief is that the answer unfolds as we explore it together. Those of us who have been doing it on the GMP together the longest are agreed that we will never find a definitive answer, but that the search is worth conducting.
On The Good Life, we tackle a related question within the same context: For every important meaning of the word “good,” what is the new meaning of the old phrase, “the good life”? In a similar way, those of us engaging this question expect we will learn the answers by searching together, and sharing what we’ve learned about “the good life,” on The Good Life.
Given the response to a recent call for submissions of and about poetry, the good life includes creative expression. Yet, even men who identify themselves as writers, struggle with words: for themselves and to describe the work they do. Rick Belden’s essay on poetry, “Poetry for Men and Other Problematic Labels,” points to both the necessity and limits of labels.
If “poetry” seems too creaky a label to be relevant in the 21st century, consider instead the rising popular interest in and critical regard for rap, slams, jams, and other revivals of poetry as it was originally composed and presented: aloud, by the author. Rick Belden, who joins us again for this theme on poetry, has shared his work here before, not only as the written word, but in videos of the author reading his work. For many of us, our most recent experience of poetry read aloud was the sound of our high school classmates, reciting with singsong voice and no heart for the subject matter. It is time to forget the labels, and come to poetry again fresh, as if it were an art form you’ve never heard of before.
“Poetry for Men,” and Other Problematic Labels, By Rick Belden
Rick Belden finds that labeling his poetry only limits who believes he is speaking to them.
Men, Poetry and Therapy, By Steve Milan
Don’t understand poetry? Perfect, says therapist Steve Milan, who finds the art form’s unfamiliarity a powerful therapeutic tool.
Broetry In Motion, By Monkey
Making fun of poetry is for fools. From “No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz?”
Make Me Real: Poetry by Kids, By Jess Stoner
Jess Stoner has the best job in the world: she works with young writers in the Austin, Texas school system.
Why Poetry for Kids?, By Carl Bosch
A 55-year veteran of the schools argues for the place of poetry in a child’s education.
Prosaic Guys In Poetic Guise, By Paul Leroux
An argument for poetry’s continued relevance to men, in sonnet form.
Arrow, By Rick Belden
The straight course of the arrow bends to the arc of life.
Suburban Sonnet, By Chris Wiewiora
It’s morning in the suburbs.
Convalescing in the World of Love and Hurts, by Steve Milan
“Rest is a good thing—a sabbath to make sense of what has happened”
Terminator 12, By Tim Ruane
“I did not envision the plates and saucers and rice and limousines at our wedding.
I envisioned only our facing each other,
While handcuffed at our wrists and almost kissing for 42 kind hours”
Helicopters, By Jesse S. Mitchell
He’s up so high, he can see the future.
Ishmael, By Mark Greene
After the the bombs fall, reality seeps back in through the flesh and senses.
Tequila, By Noah Brand
Hair of the dog.
Dividing Line, By Paul Leroux
To stand on the dividing line between childishness and maturity is “To strike a balance delicate and fine.”
Introduction to the poetry of a group of young writers from Austin, Texas public schools.
—Photo credit: asgw/Flickr