I must declare an interest in this!
First of all, you might like to check out this thread, which might clarify things:
Now then, you say:
“One question..WHY?!? I know that I'm not a professional poet, but to me the best poetry is written by people who FEEL what they are writing about....whether it be about everyday life..the seasons..the American Flag...Love...Friends...Poet Meets..
Babies & Children....God....the weather...
sunsets, sunrises, the stars, and the moon...ANY SUBJECT WHATSOEVER!!!! I think they all should be written with a PASSION and with FEELING.”
To which I would say Ethel that you need first of all to decide WHY you are writing.
Are you simply writing to express your feelings or as a release i.e. to get your feelings down on a piece of paper OR are you concerned as well to COMMUNICATE those feelings in a powerful way to other people. An example:
My wife has just left me and I write:
“I was heartbroken when she left me
the pain in my soul pierced my very being
to the core and as I looked out up
to the stars I felt the loneliness
of someone bereft of love”
Fine, I have expressed my feelings. Perhaps writing that has been an outlet for my grief, perhaps it satisfies me. Perhaps I think I am a great and powerful poet. But do those words do anything to convey what I really feel to a reader?
The answer is that the reader might empathize in two ways, either:
1 The reader will simply feel sorry for the poet as one human to another as he/she can see the poet is unhappy
2 The reader will empathise by projecting a similar experience (of being deserted) that he/she has had and feel sorrow probably for him or herself as well. I.e. the poem has served simply as a reminder of similar circumstances experienced personally.
In neither case has the poem actually conveyed in a convincing or believable way the emotions of the writer, and in neither case has the reader really be changed or moved by the poem or offered any new insights.
Quite often readers confuse straightforward and understandable sorrow (or joy) engendered by hearing of a poet’s plight (or elation) with true appreciation of what “real” poetry can bring.
You ask may ask: Does this matter?
Well yes it does, because the same emotions can be raised by the following:
I’m writing to tell you that my wife has left me. I looked out on the stars last night and I felt such grief and emotion as my words can’t possibly convey. Will this pain ever leave me do you think. I feel lost.
That would not generally be regarded as a poem. It is a personal appeal to the tender human feelings in us. I am not saying that poems do not appeal in that way as well, but poetry is (or can be) so much more.
So in a nutshell I am agreeing with you, poems can be about “feelings”, and certainly I believe a poet should always write what he or she believes to be true (that doesn’t of course preclude writing entirely fictional poems), but it’s HOW the poem is written that matters.
A powerful way to write is to try and convey feelings and emotions not by using vague and superficial phrases but in a straightforward and believable manner using images and scenes that the reader can relate to and that portray the state of mind of the writer (if that is what the poem is about) in such a way that the reader can see and feel it for him or herself.
So for instance I might have written instead:
That night, in my wicker chair, I stared out from the island marooned
in the moment she finally crashed
the oak door in my face. The black water reflected
my thoughts and chisel-tips of starlight
seemed to slice into my bleary eyes.
Do you see how all of a sudden you can SEE the poet. Instead of a faceless person simply setting down abstract words on a screen the writer becomes a PERSON, yet within the poem. You may want to know more about why he is on an island, why she slammed the door etc - you become involved in the scene and thereby intimately involved in the poet’s emotions.
So yes! Convey emotion, write about absolutely anything at all. But writing a poem is all about CAUSING the reader to experience emotion about something. Writing in which the writer only elaborates upon the emotion he or she is feeling at a particular time is unlikely to do this.