Having recently released another couple of poetry collections, ‘A Poetic Engagement’, and ‘Starry Night’, I thought that it was worth reblogging a post from some time ago regarding why it is that we write poetry. I hope that new followers enjoy this, and old followers do not become bored by it.
With the release of my poetry collection, ‘A Poetic Proposal’, I have been pondering, musing if you will, on why it is that we write poetry. Reflecting further upon what I consider a rather interesting question, I came up with a few reasons why it is that I like to write poetry.
We will get on to some of those thoughts shortly. I figured that there must be as many different reasons for writing poetry as there are poets out there. What is it that motivates us? Is every poet different or are there commonalities that can be observed? What is it that gave each of us that first initial spark, that push to write poetry?
Not satisfied with just my own thoughts and opinions I decided to garner those of some of my favourite, blogging poets to help me answer this question. It was very illuminating to discover why it is that each of them writes poetry.
Personally, I have always had a fondness for words, and for language in general, for puns, wordplay, and rhymes. I used to invent myriad little rhymes, couplets, and wordplays, but being the lewd Englishman many of them are not suitable for public consumption, not even here in the sanctity of this blog reserved for ‘Life, Literature, and Lewd Comments’.
I also enjoy the intellectual challenge of trying to convey my thoughts, feelings, emotions, in words.
I never really found that I had much to say in the past. Then one day, like a blinding light from the heavens above, I went and fell in love. It was as if my heart and soul exploded in a shower of coruscating light, an iridescence of bright, blinding colours, and just like that I suddenly had something to say.
There were a million raging emotions coursing through my head, trying to escape the confines of my mind, my heart, my soul. I now had a reason. A reason to write, to express myself to someone, to the woman that I love. I wanted her to know how I felt about her, for her to be able to experience the emotions that she excited within me. I am fully aware that mere words are insufficient to fully relate these emotions, but I want to do my utmost to convey these feelings to her, and also to others. To show the world how I feel.
So, that is me. My motivation for writing poetry, but what about some others. Below I have quoted the thoughts of three of my favourite poets, Dominic, Pamela, and Ellespeth. I heartily recommend reading their blogs and experiencing their poetry for yourselves.
‘I have written poetry since I was a pre-teen, primarily because I loved words, but also because I felt that I had something important to say, at least as much as any pre-teen boy could. As a very shy person by nature, I was never comfortable speaking my thoughts and feelings verbally, though I was quite comfortable putting them on paper and I found poetry to be the perfect avenue. I stopped writing poetry through much of my teenage and adult years up until a few years ago and from the first moment that I put pen to paper after this long absence it has almost become an addiction. I guess in the end I write poetry for the sheer love of it.’ – Dominic DiFranceso, Black and Write
‘I think that writing poetry started as a way to get my feelings out of my heart and head. The longer I have written though I find that I need to write. Writing poetry has been a way to express myself. Poetry (at least the forms I use) forces me to be very intentional with my words.’ – Pamela Beckford, Poetry by Pamela
Despite her lovely words, Pamela prefers to use poetry, in this case a tanka, to express herself and has written this beautiful poem to help us understand better why she writes poetry.
Words and emotions
Entwine to express myself
Feelings are heartfelt
Words tumble out of my lips
Nothing can stop their free flow
‘The older I get, the clearer the answer becomes: I write to honor life. There are also moments when something I’ve been questioning is suddenly distilled into a very short poem – just enough words for my heart to manage then and there. I used to kick myself for not keeping a journal. Now I realize that my poetry is my journal.’ – Ellespeth, Views From A Poet
So there are, it seems, many varied reasons why we write poetry, and I am sure that we have not even scratched the surface here. I hope that this has given a little insight into the mind of the poet, whilst highlighting that there is no single answer to this question. Thank you so very much to Dominic, Pamela, and Ellespeth for taking the time to contribute.
If you have ever written poetry why not take a few minutes to reflect on why that is. What attracted you to poetry as a form? Was it a one off, or do you write poetry consistently? Do you write both poetry and prose, more of one than the other? Have a think and please share your thoughts in the comments. Add to the body of knowledge.
Reblogged this on Legends of Windemere and commented:
Share your thoughts on poetry.
More of a prose author, but I do write poetry when I get an idea that strikes in that form. In the past, I used poetry for quick bursts of creativity during times when I was so busy that I couldn’t touch the other stuff. One thing I do love about poetry that prose doesn’t have is that the structure is a lot more flexible. You can rhyme or not rhyme. You can have it long or short. There’s a lot more freedom than when you’re writing a novel with strict grammar and form rules.
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Thanks for the reblog, Charles. Interesting thoughts. I would have said that there are an awful lot of form rules in poetry which the different poetic forms out there, but I think the thing is that it is a lot easier, and more acceptable, to break the rules with poetry. Like you say rules of grammar too are more flexible and malleable. Poetic license, I guess. You do not hear of prose license.
Excellent point with the licenses. Never thought of that. Closest for prose is ‘creative license’, but that tends to refer to working with pre-existing creations. I’m remembering my poetry classes in college and we rarely went over specific forms. It was use the structure you feel is best for the idea. Might explain a lot about my vague style.
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I rarely ever try to conform to any particular form either. I agree that it should be written however it works best to convey your thoughts and emotions.
Not sure how true this is, but it’s a thought I just had from talking to both types of authors. Most often, poetry comes from the heart with help from the brain while prose comes from the brain with help from the heart. This might just be me though.
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Super post, Julian. I always wondered why.