Posted in Writing

Poetry Thoughts

This post will most likely end up rambly. I wanted to do a post about poetry, but I don’t have anything specific to say really. But it’s my blog, so I guess I can ramble on if I like.

So, poetry. I’ve always had a bit of an odd relationship with poetry. I enjoy reading some poetry, and I’ve always fancied myself a bit of a poet myself. But at the same time… I find myself despising it. I really do. I’ve managed to get past this a bit lately, but there’s always a thought in my head that it’s completely pointless.

Which of course it isn’t. Poetry is a form of art, and even if a piece of art is pointless in every other respect, it at least entertains people, or gives them something interesting to look at for a bit. If poetry is pointless then so are the stories I write, because they certainly don’t have any deep, important messages in them.

I think the thing is it can be easy to think poetry isn’t too hard to write. It doesn’t look as challenging as writing a story, even a short story. Because they’re generally so short, they just look nice and quick to write, like you can just scribble one out while you’re bored. But, obviously, they’re not. I wouldn’t say they require all the time and effort of a story, simply because there is generally less of them to create, but they’re not easy. Well, they are easy, but not if you want them to be good poems. A novel or novella requires follow through, if nothing else, even if it isn’t redrafted. That much writing will take a while, even if it’s terrible writing. But you can scribble out a few lines and call it a poem, just on a whim.

But again, it probably won’t be a good poem. I have a load of poems sitting on my computer or in notebooks, waiting to be edited to a point where I feel they’re ready. I used to just write them out, change a few words to make them flow a little better, and call it a day, but that wasn’t right. You can’t do that when writing a book, you can’t do that when writing a poem. You can’t do that with any creative endeavor, really, and basically any job requires some double checking. It’s just a principle of life, really.

What I’m not too fond of is free verse. I recognise it as a legitimate form of poetry, I’ve read some very good free verse poetry, but the problem I just brought up about poetry in general applies ten fold to free verse. I’m sure many people will have at some point read a free verse poem which was basically formed by hitting enter at random points in sentences. I avoid trying to write it, because I don’t think I am near that level of skill. Free verse looks easy, but I think that makes it harder than more traditionally structured poetry. If you’re sticking with the guidelines of having rhymes in certain places and a specific number of beats in each line, then the poem will at least have some sort of rhythm, even if it seems a bit clumsy and forced. Whereas free verse, if it’s not done right, won’t read like a poem at all. It’ll just be a few statements about something made to look like a poem at first glance.

So that’s just some of my thoughts on poetry. I was going to write a bit more about my conflicted feelings towards it, but I feel I’ve got a bit more of a specific theme going on here than I had planned. This is mostly about the construction of poetry, the technical side. My other thoughts are on actual content, so I think I’ll leave those for another future post. Possible future post. I won’t make any promises because I never manage to keep those.


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