Name: Guy Choate
Hometown: Beebe, Arkansas
Current City: North Little Rock, Arkansas
Occupation: Communications Team Manager at an engineering consulting firm; Founder and Curator of the Argenta Reading Series
What does poetry mean to you?
My default literary mode is set to nonfiction prose, so a lot of times what I think of as poetry is found within larger bodies of prose. To me, so much of the poetry I come across is the isolated brilliance of a section of prose or the arrangement of words within a piece that has no flaws. The relationship written poetry has with spoken language, however, is extraordinary.
I love reading aloud, so I can feel the written word. Sometimes, when I sit down to write something for an audience, I can’t get past an initial desire I have to stand at a podium and scream words at them. (I have no idea what this means.) As a form, though, prose typically requires more context than a yell, while I think a poem can inhabit this space. A good poet needs less reason, in the space of poetry, to hit people hard with words. She doesn’t always have to think about why or where the words, or the act itself of language announcing, must “fit” in the orderly space of essay. I will always be envious of that kind of expression, one that is not obligated to linearity, and the courage to articulate from these associative places. Poetry allows a space for words that don’t always want to be explained.
“Dharma” by Billy Collins
Why do you like this poem?
The poem calls attention to how admirable dogs are for being able to leave the house without any belongings, and I think of the poem every time I put a leash on my own dog. It becomes a subconscious mantra for me when I walk out the door; every day I tell myself, I can navigate all of this, the whole world, without the help of the material goods of a house, what I put in the house. It find it so reassuring.
You can follow the (un)material-ridden days of Guy Choate on his very active and humorous photo-a-day blog.