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Preface to Life in General: The Everyday Poems of Sean Holliday

I donít like poetry. Well, thatís not true. I love poetry. I just donít understand it; at least not very well. In high school I had to do a report on Samuel Taylor Coleridge, including an oral analysis of The Sandpiper in front of the class. I donít remember what I saidóI pretty much made it up anywayóbut I got an A. Apparently the teacher was impressed. Of course she could have just been grading on a curve. Compared to the rest of the class, I was a regular Lord Byron. I, who couldnít recognize iambic pentameter if it hit me with a yard stick, was the best in the class at deciphering what those old dead guys were trying to say. It still annoyed me. Frustrated is a better word. I had to read each line 423 times and concentrate myself into an Excedrin-sized headache just to understand the surface of the poemís content. (The blatantly obvious hints that the teacher offered in an attempt to bridge the agonizing silence that inevitably followed any question of an analytical nature didnít hurt either.)

It was in those days of glassy-eyed classmates and stress-induced acne that I decided to publish a book of poetry that would emancipate AP English students all over the world from the bonds of ambiguity, verbosity and literary enigma that had enslaved them for centuries. I started with the title: 101 Poems that Rhyme. Then I wrote a non-rhyming poem. I decided rhyming was optional. Content, on the other hand, was not. Every poem, no matter what emotion it described, no matter what darkness it explored should end up-beat and positive; at least neutral. Then I wrote a poem that didnít. My position on the matter changed.

Over the years my philosophy of poetry has evolved. It probably will continue. Today I believe that a poem should be uplifting and edifying; at least insightful. It should be honest and sincere and should try to convey a messageónot necessarily a moralóbut it should communicate something: the beauty of a spring morning; the swelling joy of friendship; the best way to annoy your fellow commuters while stuck in an I-15 traffic jam. Without communication, what good are words?

Hopefully thatís what sets these poems apart. I call them ďeveryday poemsĒ because poemoftheday.com was taken, but also because they contain lines and ideas that I find myself using every day. They are written for everyday people in everyday situations. Some are clever and funny. Some are spiritual and uplifting. Some are thoughtful. Some are sad. Most can be understood on several levels and multiple readings are encouraged. But if you find yourself reading a particular poem for the 423rd time, hopefully itís to experience the depth of the writing, not just to scratch the surface. I hope that all of the poems in this book communicate the reason they were written; without the use of painkillers.