The discussions surrounding what is and isn’t ‘poetry’ are as varied and confused as the discussions about what constitutes ‘art’.
They are very similar in many ways.
To me it’s all about perception and context.
Poetry is writing with feeling, with an intention to trigger a feeling.
It has to be about truth, about telling a truth as you feel it.
Poems can of course be whimsical and trivial, entertaining us with language and playing with words. That’s a truth in itself – the ambiguity of language.
Calling something ‘poetry’ alienates it for a lot of people.
Most people would never think of themselves as fans of poetry.
Poetry, like art, is usually thought of as something for ‘other people’, other better educated, richer people, with the time and inclination to waste on such hifalutin things!
There are many ‘street poets’, people who use the common language spoken by most of us in performance pieces. They tend to get tagged with the ‘performance art’ label, and as that has ‘art’ in it, they get treated with the same ‘arty resistance’ that most people have.
Poetry has so much baggage associated with it that most people will never bother to consider it: it just seems too much hassle and they feel they will never really ‘get it’.
On a positive note, the smaller posts that are encouraged by all forms of social media are also encouraging some people to get thoughts and feelings out there in short bursts that are, to all intents and purposes, poetry.
But overall, getting poetry out there is tough.
I’ve written down my thoughts and feelings all my life. Sometimes as ways to figure things out, sometimes as ways to explore things that I haven’t directly experienced but am curious about, sometimes when I’m hurt or confused and sometimes when I find something funny.
Writing is something that’s important to me so I do it in many forms.
So when people ask, ‘do you write poetry?’, I usually reply, ‘I just write and some of it is poetry’.
That’s a cop-out from the ‘what is poetry’ discussion and baggage of perception.
The stuff I write as poetry is always very personal. It’s got my inner thoughts and feelings wrapped with it, even when it’s about exploring themes and ideas that are not directly based on experience. Sometimes I’m asked to write lyrics to a song and I treat these as poetry.
Some of my writing is full of pain, some is driven by anger, some by frustration, by a feeling of abandonment. Some of it is about love. All of it is a bit raw.
There is also some that is funny, looking at the ridiculous aspects of what people think of as important. Some of it just plops out fully formed from somewhere my brain has access to but I can’t quite remember.
I’ve never been shy about what I write.
I always write with a view to sharing.
I’ve collated some of my poetry in to a book called ‘Ramble On’ and stuck it out on Amazon.
It’s available in paperback and Kindle format in all markets.
Give it a look if you fancy it.
But beware: some of it is poetry.