I have to admit that often when I write poetry I write it just to write it. That is, I’ll say, “I want to write a poem!” and so I’ll sit at the computer, or at a desk with pencil and paper, and throw down what comes to mind. Sure, it often cleans up nicely and some of my most popular poems according to views, likes and comments, have been these more forced poems.
There are times, however, when I have something I want to say and can express it only as a poem. I might have a strong feeling or an overriding emotion. There just might be something bugging me. I just have to say it and use poetry to say it. Often these poems come out self-formed, all I’m doing is taking dictation.
Occasionally I will write a poem because I have something to say, only it is to myself. This type of poem is a subset of the ones above, but they are the most personal ones.
I don’t know if it’s true of my poems, but I find when I read others it is that third group, the personal poems where a poet is writing to clarify their own thoughts that most resonate with me. You see, they are talking about pure emotion, the most basic of all human communication. I read and say, “I know that feeling, I’ve thought that way before.” Or I might say, “yes, exactly. That’s what i would say if my tongue could express itself in such a clear way.” I read and I see part of myself in that person, I experience our shared humanity. I can look at them and say, “You are like me and I am like you.”
I recently put up a post about why we read poetry where I brought up some of these issues. Today a response of types was posted by “Idiot Writer”. She talked about the reasons she writes and posts poems. This got me thinking. I know, a dangerous pastime, thinking. This post is one of the results of my thinking about IW’s post that was a response to her thinking about one of my posts. See, poetry really does form the basis for communication!
Note – I once wrote about how I write poetry in post called “The Poetry Fraud“. It was a little less serious…