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Passions in Poetry

How I write

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hoot_owl_rn
Member Patricius
since 07-05-99
Posts 11105
Glen Hope, PA USA


0 posted 11-19-1999 05:17 PM       View Profile for hoot_owl_rn   Email hoot_owl_rn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit hoot_owl_rn's Home Page   View IP for hoot_owl_rn

I'm not sure this is worthy of some philosophical discussion, but was asked to post by Brad, so here I am

I wish I could say I slave for hours over my poetry, work up a sweat, fret for days on end, but it doesn't work that way for me. I have had no formal education in writing aside from a required writing course in college.
The majority of my work (aside from some of the form poems I do for Nans classroom activities) comes to me in an onslaught of words and I am helpless to do anything but write them down.
This is going to be hard to explain to anyone who hasn't written like this, but I'll give it a shot. I've written poems driving down the interstate at 65 miles and hour (not something I would personally recommend), at football games, funerals, in church, at restaurants and practically anywhere you can imagine. The words just come to me, usually in one big rush, and if I don't write them down, then and there, I usually lose them. Most times I haven't a clue as to what I've written until I go back and read it afterwards. I've literally had poems I've written bring me to tears afterwards because they are so reflective of my life and perhaps things I've held back for many years.
Okay, laughing, perhaps I should stop there before people really think I'm nuts...I can assure you, I am probably as sane as they come. So...where do the words come from? Do I process them and write poetry in my sleep, do I sub consciously write poetry during my waking hours without really knowing I am doing it, do I have some unseen muse inspiring me??? Your guess is as good as mine, but I'd like to hear some other opinions on the subject.

------------------
Alis volat propriis
(She flies with her own wings)



[This message has been edited by hoot_owl_rn (edited 11-19-1999).]
JOY 14
Senior Member
since 09-22-1999
Posts 1447
Wisconsin USA


1 posted 11-19-1999 07:59 PM       View Profile for JOY 14   Email JOY 14   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit JOY 14's Home Page   View IP for JOY 14

Ohhhh. I couldn't wait to reply to this one!
And I think its a perfect topic of discusion, hoot owl!
Where do the words come from? I can't say I know, but some people have it inside them and they need to do that. I am exactly like you are, in that unless I write down the words in my head down on paper, in usualy the form of poetery, they disapeer.

I too, do not spend hours perfecting my poetry or working on it. But I do indeed love what I do. I love my work even if nobody else does because it comes straight from my mind, my heart, me. And poetry makes me feel GREAT. It's a huge part of who I am. Sometimes, okay usualy its my identity.
So I know exactly where you are comming from. Sometimes like you said, insperation will come at not the greatest times. I just have to write, though. It doesn't matter where I am, if I have something to write on and with I'm going to go for it.

Again, I'm not sure where the words come from but, thank God you have them right? They are are beautiful gift. And the ability to create poetry is also a gift, that I'm certainly greatful for every day.

(Is what I'm doing after reading this post!)
hoot_owl_rn
Member Patricius
since 07-05-99
Posts 11105
Glen Hope, PA USA


2 posted 11-19-1999 08:05 PM       View Profile for hoot_owl_rn   Email hoot_owl_rn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit hoot_owl_rn's Home Page   View IP for hoot_owl_rn

Joy, I am sitting here reading your reply and smiling. It's nice not to be alone in this.
A gift??...sometimes I think it's a curse, for through my writings I often reveal so much of myself I might not otherwise do so.
I am like you, I've learned after trying to figure out words on napkins, reciepts and paper scraps to carry a note book with me at all times
Marilyn
Member Elite
since 09-26-1999
Posts 2646
Ontario, Canada


3 posted 11-20-1999 12:26 AM       View Profile for Marilyn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Marilyn

I am slightly different then you Ruth. My inspiration doesn't hit me like it does you. (That is my prose...stories floating in my head ALWAYS!)
I sit down and I find my muse and then the words come. Sometimes I have to struggle with the meter, sometimes it just flows. There are times when I can not write a word and times when they just do not stop. A theme might come to me some place and I will write down the idea but I have to be sitting with paper in hand and thinking about my poetry for it to come. I have to work at my pieces. Short stories flow from me so fast I can not get the words down fast enough.
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


4 posted 11-20-1999 11:37 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I suppose you could say I'm with Marilyn on this one. I'm constantly writing from a number of different techniques and I'm always trying to mix and match form and content to create an original, emotionally moving piece. I keep several notebooks and jot down ideas or phrases and as soon as I have some sort of base line (the line that the poem will revolve around -- I even drop that line sometimes), I write. In many ways, it's a constant struggle because I'm never quite sure if I'm moving in the direction I want to go or if where I want to go is the best direction for the poem.

The funny thing is that inspiration is just as much a part of this process as the more free wheeling, write it down as soon as comes technique (which I've done many times as well). Bukowski said that he would write poems as he drank the night before, wake up the next day, do a little rwriting, and come up with a poem. I like some of what he wrote that way (certainly not all of it).

I suppose my problem with that process is the 'where does it come from?' argument. I believe that we are all, more or less, manipulated by influences such as the media, other poems, unthought standards, and such and wonder if that's where the poem comes from. To some extent, you will never get over this dilemma; I just think trying to work on a poem with a conscious effort to make it better, to say new things, and to move other people is one way of lessening that dilemma.

Recently, I've read two anti-war poems by two very respected people here (Ruth, sound familiar?) that I did not particularly care for. From that initial stimulus, I have an idea in my notebook to write a anti-war poem with a slightly different slant. I haven't written it yet and I have no idea what I'm going to do with that but you never know. Inspiration comes in the strangest forms.

Brad
Sunshine
Administrator
Member Caelestus
since 06-25-99
Posts 67715
Listening to every heart


5 posted 11-20-1999 11:43 AM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Hoot, I don't work up a sweat either...words come. They don't always come in a form as well as the ones you put forth, but I share them anyway, for I hope that they have a reason, for someone, as I enjoy what I put down, regardless.

I do think I will start posting more in the Critique form, however, as I should be learning for myself what is wrong, and what is right, about what I post. [Whether I follow anyone's suggestions is my prerogative, however...LOL!]

I only know that since coming to Passions, and being allowed to open my wings and fly as I write, and dream, and write [ad nauseum] I have found myself sleeping much better in the night...

------------------
Sunshine
Look, then, into thine heart, and write ~~~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

hoot_owl_rn
Member Patricius
since 07-05-99
Posts 11105
Glen Hope, PA USA


6 posted 11-20-1999 01:12 PM       View Profile for hoot_owl_rn   Email hoot_owl_rn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit hoot_owl_rn's Home Page   View IP for hoot_owl_rn

Brad...I do know one of the two anti-war poems you speak of , but actually for what I accomplished on that, I faired pretty well. You must realize that came from someone who hates form poetry. But in turn, I wrote a what 50? line rhyming acrostic in a matter of about 20 minutes...that in itself is a feat.
As for poetry being manipulated by the media...I would have to say mine are manipulated by my own person life more than anything with the exception of some like "Fourteen Children" which was written, in an onslaught, after reading a small, tucked away article about the number of children killed in a day by gunshot. But again....that's me.

Marilyn...I know you and I have discussed our differences in writing poetry over prose. I think I may have mislead you on something. I said prose is more like work for me, not necessarily because the words don't come...for they do. What compromises the work is sitting down and writing them so others can understand my meanings. English is a complex language and I worry far more about sentance structure and punctuation in prose. If I wish to include it in my poetry, I do, if not I don't...laughs. Prose in turn, to me, is a much more disciplined form of writing. I seldom (when I actually put my mind to it) spend more than 2 hours on the actual writing of a short story, but the revisions can take me days.

Sunshine...I find even reading the comments on other poems in Critical to be helpful. Unless I am writing a poem for someone in particular or know I am submitting it for publication, I rarely worry as to what others think of my words. I have something to say and say it...if they read it good, if they read it and like it, even better....but, for the most part, I write for me. My writing is a form of release for me. After over 15 years of writing nothing, it was all I could do to keep up with the words when I first began to write again. That outpouring of emotions was overwhelming. I felt like I was standing on a set of railroad tracks with a freight train barreling down on me and was helpless but to do anything but stand there and watch. It was a very emotional time and the emotions in those poems ring loud and clear, I share very little of those initial works as I find a lot of them rather depressing...if your curious, look up "Unsettled" in critical. I guess what I'm trying to say here is...If your poetry is a relase for you, if you sleep better because you do it as you have said, never stop. It's fine to write so other people will appreciate your works, but pleasing yourself in your writing should come above everything. I know Brad will disagree with me on that statement
Ruth

------------------
Alis volat propriis
(She flies with her own wings)

Deb Lynne
Member
since 08-19-99
Posts 181
Where blue skies meet blue oce


7 posted 11-20-1999 01:58 PM       View Profile for Deb Lynne   Email Deb Lynne   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Deb Lynne

I couldn't resist putting in my "two cents worth"! I just love it when someone asks about writing. Not that my writing even begins to compare to some of the Masters in Passions! But my words come from the heart. And by being able to express myself in words gives me one of my greatest joys. It's not to impress anyone. It's self satisfaction. The words feel like they could drown me at times if they don't find their way out! By sharing my words, I'm sharing part of myself. And making friends who also have that same love. Only those who love words can understand.
hoot_owl_rn
Member Patricius
since 07-05-99
Posts 11105
Glen Hope, PA USA


8 posted 11-20-1999 05:38 PM       View Profile for hoot_owl_rn   Email hoot_owl_rn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit hoot_owl_rn's Home Page   View IP for hoot_owl_rn

Deb....I know what you mean by feeling like you could drown in your words and as for your final comment...I can't agree more.
Ruth
doreen peri
Member Rara Avis
since 05-25-99
Posts 8028
Virginia


9 posted 11-20-1999 06:28 PM       View Profile for doreen peri   Email doreen peri   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for doreen peri

Hi Ruth... (et al)

I believe that the words that "just come" are coming from your Muse, who is often referred to as "she" (probably because "she" eludes us and we can't quite figure her out sometimes, much like a woman.... according to some people).

Anyway, here's my take on it. Like you,this happens to me ALL the time. As a matter of fact, reading how you write on napkins at restaurants and such, made me laugh outloud sitting here by myself at the computer since I could I identify with it so much. One day, I will actually take the box of handwritten and typed (from a typewriter) pieces I have from many years ago and start typing them into the computer... some of which are written on napkins and on drink coasters and paper bags.... hehehe.

Thing is, as I look back on much that I wrote back then (some 15 years and more ago), I think most of it needs revision in a MAJOR way. A lot of it was an outpouring of my feelings and thoughts coming together quickly and written down so I wouldn't lose it.... and I never even THOUGHT of revising any of it. Sure, there's some good imagery in there and maybe some keeper lines, but as a whole, my writing sucked back then (excuse my verbiage).

Like you, I put down my pen for a while and have only recently picked it up again. Well, I picked up the keyboard. AND, this time, I'm trying to work at this craft and I'm taking it much more seriously than before. I'd actually like to get published, believe it or not... LOL.

The Muse can be very elusive and sometimes you can feel like you are writing a masterpiece in your head but when you try to write it down, it doesn't quite come out exactly how it was coming in your head. This is what happens to me, anyway. I wrote a poem about it called "Hide and Seek" which I've posted here in the past. Perhaps you've read it.

I guess what I'm getting at is this: Today, I write differently than I did before when I simply let the words "come". I STILL let them come spewing out of me, don't get me wrong, but I don't leave them like that. I use that spewing as a basis for a new poem. Sometimes it evolves into several new poems. I take what I originally wrote which was straight from my heart and begin working on it... line by line.... word by word. I take away all that's not essential (at least I try... lol... a lot of my poems are way too long). I examine each and every word and phrase to determine if it is saying exactly what i want it to say... if it can take the reader to a new place... if it can put them into my mind and heart and let them BE me, even for just a moment while reading my poetry. I want them to FEEL what I feel and I've found that just writing down what my Muse is telling me, straight from the heart... off the top of my head.... isn't good enough. What I mean is, I can make it better. That's where the work comes in.

Like Brad, I take notes. All the time. I don't keep writing notebooks and journals like he does.... (geez, I wish I was that organized). Nope. Instead, what I do is what I've always done. I write on the napkin at the restuarant or the coaster at the bar. I write on the brown paper bag from the grocery store while sitting at the stop light. During my work day, I open up new document just do jot down some thoughts. All of these could stand as "poems" to be posted here, but I don't let them stand that way because lately I have found that working on them can give me a MUCH better product.

A lot of my inspiration comes in the form of poem titles. Don't ask me why. Darn Ms. Muse just gives it to me that way. I jot the title down because the title evokes images to me and feelings and a PLACE or experience where I want to take the reader. As I am writing this, I have about 20 titles just waiting to be written. Do you know anybody that has a software program to help stretch 24 hours into 48? LOL. That's my problem -- not enough time. Every now and then I envision simply retiring early, closing down my business, and packing up and moving off to Montana or something to write. To just sit there and write. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

Whoops... sorry, I got sidetracked and I was daydreaming again.

Well, I hope this gives you one more person's viewpoint. Thanks for posing the question. It is an important one, most definitely.

In your last post, Ruth, you described an image of a train coming... i thought that was GREAT! I have a challenge for you! I'd LOVE to see you write that image into a poem using an extended metaphor. What do you think?

Thanks for giving me a place to express my views and for reading.

-doreen
hoot_owl_rn
Member Patricius
since 07-05-99
Posts 11105
Glen Hope, PA USA


10 posted 11-20-1999 08:46 PM       View Profile for hoot_owl_rn   Email hoot_owl_rn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit hoot_owl_rn's Home Page   View IP for hoot_owl_rn

Thanks for the viewpoint and the challange Doreen, I may just have to take you up on that. You've brought up some very interesting points here. Not every rambling of my mind becomes a poem, and not everything I write down gets left in it's original form, but some of my better things have been left without a single revision, now that I can not understand.
doreen peri
Member Rara Avis
since 05-25-99
Posts 8028
Virginia


11 posted 11-20-1999 09:23 PM       View Profile for doreen peri   Email doreen peri   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for doreen peri

Actually, Ruth, I know what you mean... sometimes... the first and only draft is really the BEST it can become. Has happened to me, as well.

Thanks for reading my input and I'll look forward to your poem... you are a very talented writer, y'know.... you truly have a gift.

dp
hoot_owl_rn
Member Patricius
since 07-05-99
Posts 11105
Glen Hope, PA USA


12 posted 11-20-1999 09:28 PM       View Profile for hoot_owl_rn   Email hoot_owl_rn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit hoot_owl_rn's Home Page   View IP for hoot_owl_rn

Doreen....thank you for the compliment. Now could I have the confidance in my writing that everyone else does...I'd be alright.
I think you are a very talented writer also by the way
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


13 posted 11-22-1999 03:03 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I don't disagree as much as you might think, Ruth. Question: if everybody here writes for themselves, why do some people get upset when I give a negative critique? Why are people caring about what I have to say if in almost the same sentence they are saying they don't care? Why post it? If what other people like is secondary (no arguments here),
why is dislike treated with such criticism?
I think you know what I think,
Brad

PS This is a bit belated because it doesn't happen so much any more (at least at CA) but I'm curious if anybody would like to respond.
jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


14 posted 11-22-1999 12:19 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

By what everyone else is writing I feel like I am the mutant! I write to give my feelings and thoughts a home. Structure is very important to me. Sometimes it almost physically pains me to write free-verse. I have a hard time leaving things as-is if my free verse doesn't have movement and structure. (This is why I worked so hard to write a sonnet as one of my first projects). Doreen, does this mean my Muse is anal?

My feelings and thoughts are my actual inspirations ... the words merely fill the void. Am I making any sense? My thoughts (I like think) are somewhat structured and my feelings, of course, are not. So a structured expression of my feelings seems to be the best medium for me to do justice to two attributes that are very much "me".

I do fret for hours if something just doesn't seem to work in a poem I am writing. Inspiration may give me the subject matter but fleshing that inspiration out (and trying to do the inspiration justice) takes time for me.

Good question, Ruth.

------------------
Jim

"If I rest, I rust." -Martin Luther

hoot_owl_rn
Member Patricius
since 07-05-99
Posts 11105
Glen Hope, PA USA


15 posted 11-22-1999 12:54 PM       View Profile for hoot_owl_rn   Email hoot_owl_rn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit hoot_owl_rn's Home Page   View IP for hoot_owl_rn

Brad...
People dislike critism because we are raised in a world where we are taught the basis is to please other people. From the time we are infants, we are rewarded for following the rules, being good, in otherwards, doing as others feel we should. When one recieves critism, it goes against things they have been taught. Instead of being rewarded for something good, we are being told that we have done something wrong...ah, a form of punishment then? (I think this could be another whole topic of conversation )
I relish critiques, good and bad, but for the most part, unless the change pleases me, I don't change it. For instance, a certain poem laid before the butchers knife at the moment is getting some interesting suggestions...I've enjoyed seeing what people have to say about it, but in fact, aside from some things that were bothering me before I ever posted it (and several people picked up on), I will probably change very little.
Why post it at all you say then? Because I like to see other peoples views, because I have something to say and want people to hear it and that can't be done with the poetry sitting on my desktop or tucked away in my note book. I will stand on my words here, I do write foremost for myself, but in turn, why write at all if you can not share?

Jim...Yes, you are making absolute sense. I write as a release also. It is a way for me to attempt to make sense of my sometimes crazy self. A way for me to clarify my life and to shed light upon my thoughts and ideas.
I have to tend to disagree with you on the fact that free verse does not have movement. I'll agree with the structure part, but some of my poems that flow the best are free verse. Here's an example:
Love’s Mist

I dream of you
on the deck of a ship
soft haze enveloping you
as night sets in

I am jealous of the mist
I long to wrap myself around you
like a comfortable robe
swaddling you in my body

Let me sing to you
the oceans lullaby
hear my voice in its rhythm
see my face in the waves
feel my kisses in the spray
and crash upon my shores

Today, you sail the sea
~tomorrow, sail to me

No, that poem is not structured. No that poem does not have rhyme. But, does it have movement...indeed it does.
Everyone has their own style by which they elicit their words. I myself have no particular "style" of writing as I do just as much free verse as I do rhyme. I will say though, until I came to passions, I wrote much more free verse than I did rhyme. But because so many here write rhyme, I've been writing more myself. This, I don't believe, is one of the benifits I've recieved from this forum because I think free verse suits me and my type (notice I avoided the word style) of writing better.


------------------
Alis volat propriis
(She flies with her own wings)

jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


16 posted 11-24-1999 04:55 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Ruth:

Sorry it took me so long to read your comment. Work and Philosophy 101 and Nan's homework assignments, you understand.

Sorry for miscommunicating my point about movement and structure. I know that free-verse poems often have movement. What I meant was that I have difficulty drafting something in free-verse without going back and "tweeking" some structure (whether it be meter or rhyme or whatever) into it.

But there is hope for me! You guys are consistently pushing me to broaden my horizons (When, seriously, would I have ever written Haiku on my own! ). But I guess a haiku is structured enough for this lopsided left-brainer, though, wouldn't you agree?

Brad:

I think it is natural for someone to be upset by a negative criticism. The first time I posted something in Critical Analysis I was at least a little apprehensive. I kept calling things sonnets that weren't sonnets, for crying out loud! But I think its a life lesson to be able to recognize CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM and be able to learn from it. Its also a life lesson to be able to disagree with a negative critic and enjoy the show anyway ("Star Wars: Episode I" only got 2-1/2 stars and I thought it was worth at least 3-1/2. So who was right? Me or the critics?). "What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger" so the saying goes. Of course the man who coined that phrase died insane and penniless.

Maybe when some people say they are writing for themselves they really mean they are writing because they want to be noticed and praised. CA isn't the best place to avoid having your feelings hurt if it is your feelings, rather than your writing, that you are trying to build up by posting your poetry there. Does that make any sense at all?

Anyway, have good Thanksgiving everyone.

------------------
Jim

"If I rest, I rust." -Martin Luther

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


17 posted 11-25-1999 06:51 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Well, I agree with most of the stuff here. My point was to argue that people do care what other people think of their poetry. I was thinking along the lines of someone who says "I don't care what you say" but, for me, the moment they say, "I don't care," they actually do care. When I really don't care about what someone says, my eyes glaze over and I just stop listening. What I'm trying to get at is why don't we just accept the fact that we do care what other people think when it comes to writing and stop this useless posturing. What I didn't make clear before is the difference between someone who prioritizes him/herself as first and then listens to others. That pretty much has to be the way it is because writing is a solitary, personal thing. It'd be pretty funny, I think, to have a writer put something in a poem that he or she didn't like because someone else said that was the way to do things. Are there people like that?

I honestly think that posturing only hurts us in the long run. We should accept the fact that we care what other people think (I sure do.) Perhaps, if we accept this then we can accept that people aren't going to like it instead of being shocked that someone would be mean or cruel. Also, you begin to see a world of individuals and not a 'me and a few friends versus the world'. It doesn't matter if one person dislikes my poem because another person just might. Furthermore, since you're going to write another poem anyway, you just learn from that experience and try to write a better one. I kind of laugh at being called the 'king of negative criticism' but rarely have I ever said anything that was meant to be, in any way, mean or cruel. A lot of times I actually have complimented certain aspects of a poem that I didn't like as a whole but, you know, for some reason nobody mentions that when they say I need more 'balance' (will come back to that). I try to be honest to my feelings at that moment and tell the author that -- thinking that if he or she disagrees with me, that's fine. Isn't this, in a way, showing a certain respect to the author? If I always gave positive comments, wouldn't that in a sense cheapen the poems that I really did like? I guess what bothers me on this subject is that many people have told me that I should put more balance in my comments but that is nothing more than a manipulative tool. Why not say what you think and let the listener decide if it has any merit?

Several people have pointed out that not everybody has decided to write poetry. They are just 'trying out the water' so to speak (usually with grand pronouncements about writing to live or whatever). I do see a point there when complete honesty should be avoided until they themselves have the confidence to accept it. I never, never will tell anyone not to write or that they have no talent. I want to talk about the poem not the person.

Well, I suppose that was a little bit off the subject. Sorry about that. Just wanted to get it off my chest, I guess.

Earlier I mentioned the media as a possible influence on people's poetry. I wasn't talking about the media as a topic starter so much as the actual phrasing's people use are often unintended imitations of something they've already heard. I've often wondered if the greatest influence in the way people speak is Saturday Night Live. I think it rare that anyone can write something original and exciting by just letting themselves go. Is it possible? Yes, but I think it really is nothing more than getting lucky. This is why I'm just scared to death to post something that just flows from my hand (although I often start that way) This isn't intended at you personally Ruth but nine times out of ten when someone tells me something like, "Can you believe it only took me ten minutes to write this?" I laugh and say, "Yeah, that's about as much time as I figured you took." Ruth, to be honest, I think you're pretty good at that kind of writing (well, except for that war thing ). I read a lot of stuff at other sites that I don't think are.

The above paragraph in many ways seems to argue against influence. Perhaps, we shouldn't read poetry because we will be adversely influenced and our own orignality will be stunted. It's a nice idea but it just doesn't work. Go to any poetry site and start counting how many times the same words are used over and over again. If you read this stuff, over time, it just gets tedious. If you want to be enjoyed by someone who reads poetry, you've got to read it yourself if only to try to write a poem that stands out from the crowd (and we all want to stand out from the crowd, don't we?).

Sigh.

Now, there are different reasons for writing poetry. Mine is, well, I'm not exactly sure sometimes but generally to write something that a reader doesn't necessarily relate to personally but that somehow breaks the very idea of life and identity, that shows them a different way of looking at things, that expands their experience. A poem rooted in generality cannot do this. First, language is general by definition. The moment you write in a language, you are dealing with generalities because that is the way it has to be. We all picture something different, however minutely, when we hear a word; it is what allows us to communicate in the first place. On the other hand, one can write for so long and in such detail that the reader gets bored and goes to sleep on the keyboard. This is really rude of writers of course because what if those impression don't go away? We've permanently disfigured a reader. Can we be sued for that? The trick is to find that middle point, that capture the reader with something truly specific, that stays in the mind of the reader (which is, I think, a much profounder experience than a catchy song -- but that may be personal bias on my part).

Other people write for therapuetic value and I have no problems with this. It is helpful and sometimes I even enjoy the poem. But I wonder if people get so caught up in trying to help the person that they forget whatever value there might be in simply enjoying the poetry or, at least, in telling the writer what they really think. Everybody wants honesty, or they say they do. I don't write for therapuetic value (or don't post that stuff until I think it is actually a good poem.) My fear with this line of thinking is that somewhere along the line the poem itself gets lost, the love of words, the enjoyment of art is displaced for the human need for companionship. I'm not saying that art is more important than people but I am saying that it can be an enjoyable experience without worrying about the writers psychological framework. We need both for a satisfying life.

My other fear is that while I will always listen to those who write therapuetic poetry and even concede their point that it does have value, those who write that way are either too insecure to look at writing from a different point of view (not necessarily mine but any other point of view) with lines like 'that's just the way I write' or 'I don't know anything about that' or 'I just do what I do'. For me, these are conversation stoppers and again, for me, they are in essence (hate that word) telling me that they already know the world, know the art, and feel they have little to gain from listening to different ways of doing things. This is the essentialization of identity. This insecurity, ironically, is exactly the same reaction to someone who already 'knows' how to write, how to do something. Conceit and insecurity result in the same actions and reactions. It is also the same motive that puts certain people on a pedastal over mystical 'talent'. If you accept that they are 'better' than you then you release any comparative/competitive instincts you might have and again find yourself writing because you are 'doing your own thing.' If you think someone is 'better' than you, does that mean you want to write like them? If so, then you should study what they write and try to surpass that writing. If not, then how can you argue that they are 'better' than what you write? Stop worrying about identity and start writing, reading, and thinking about what and how you want to write. If you write, you're a writer. If you write poetry, you're a poet. It is the action that matters,not some facile image of what a writer should be or how a writer should write or your own personal style. Try them all and see which one appeals to you. I ask nothing less of myself and nothing less of anyone else here. Really, in the end, I don't care how you write, I just want to read some good poetry and I think the key for all of us is to explore the different aspects of the writing process to find what we like to do. There may be strengths inside of you that you didn't know you had before.

Rant over,
Brad
myslinky
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since 11-25-1999
Posts 61


18 posted 11-26-1999 01:26 AM       View Profile for myslinky   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for myslinky

I read all the responses now I donīt even remember who started this string.
Well I havenīt posted any poetry but I do write it. I think that poetry doesnīt necessarily have to be structured for it to deliver a clear message or picture. I personaly write for myself. Its like my therapy. I write for outlet. I write everyday to keep myself focused. As you may have guessed my poetry has no structure. But when I read it I feel good. Rarely do I share any of my work. Thatīs pretty greedy of me because I love reading poems. Thatīs is why I love this place so much.
I know this is narrow minded of me but I canīt stand recieving critcism. Even if its constructive criticism. I know that it is important for any type of growth but I take it realy personaly.
Thatīs probably why I donīt share my poetry.
I have criticism phobia.
If I feel comfertable with it I donīt want to know what you think. Well that is one problem Iīm going to have to deal with.

P.S sorry for all the grammer and spelling errors Iīm sure theres plenty of them Iīm to sleepy to proofread this hope you understand!:0
Poet deVine
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since 05-26-99
Posts 25869
Hurricane Alley


19 posted 11-26-1999 09:52 AM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

I found this post only today and it's such an interesting topic, I hope all the poets/writers here will respond.

How I write: Sometimes, the words flow, someone is guiding my hands as I type or write the words down..I once sat in my car in 110 degree heat to write something down after watching the movie "Dances With Wolves"...I carry a small notebook in my purse for thoses times when I'm 'hit' with inspiration. Sometimes, I feel a buzzy-headed thing (sorry no other way to describe it) when I write...the words flow effortlessly from my fingers.

Other times, I labor over my work. Using a rhyming dictionary, thesaurus, synonym finder and books of poetry.

I always read them outloud after they are written, to get the flow and rhythm. I seldom go back after they're written to rewrite...I give my muse her due and assume she knows best!

Some of my best work is done as a challenge. A phrase given to me to be used in a poem. I can take the most absurd phrase (from the purse her bra spoke to me) and write a poem with depth and meaning. I used a blurb from a magazine ad "don't just open your eyes" and turned it into a pretty good poem.

I think my 'talent' is a gift. A very precious gift that I've only recently (in the last year) realized. I get physically ill if I can't write so I try to do a little everyday..and when I'm in the midst of a writers block, I get depressed. I listen to music and read, read, read to find inspiration.




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