defining poetry

I’ve been reading different thoughts towards the various styles of poetry here recently and even more recently a certain opinion about the definition of a poet, down to even the choice and repetition of words used. This has sparked a nerve in me that I simply needed to express my frustration about. What better an outlet than here, where like minded writers, poets, photographers, simply artists as a collective, live.

Poetry is defined as a type of literature that conveys a thought, describes a scene or tells a story in a concentrated, lyrical arrangement of words. For starters, can we truly put a label on poetry? Sometimes they rhyme. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they are short, sometimes long. Okay yes sure, one can write in a certain structure such as sonnets or haiku’s. But even still, there is no “wrong” way to write poetry.

For myself, I’m a free verse lover. Just like my fictional writing, I’m a panster. I plan NOTHING. I just write and just as when I was a child with coloring, almost always outside of the lines. I once read somewhere, a good writer is one that doesn’t feel the need to edit their words written in the middle of the night. Can’t help but think that’s where the true heart of a writer lives.

I’m personally a huge fan of this tagged title now of “micro” poetry, which brings me to the largest debate. It would seem those of us that write “short and sweet” are being shamed for our lack of true length of what poetry should be.  (I invite you to reread the definition of poetry as I cited up there with emphasis on that lovely word straight out of the dictionary, concentrated.)  I mean please, tell me, is their a guidebook out there somewhere that recites a word count to the true definition of what equates to a poem? Anyone? Anyone? Yeah. thought so. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge lover of the classics. My God Edgar Allan is a rockstar and that Keats and Thoreau…more please. But does that mean the “micro” writer like myself is any less phenomenal? I don’t think so. If anything I think it becomes even more a talent, an art, to be able to move someone in such a way in as few words as possible.  Just today a coworker came up to me, after having read my latest poetry book which contains poems of only ten words, and said to me how do you manage to pack such a punch in so few words! Of course I was beaming. Any writer would react the same at such praise. I often think of this piece by Ernest Hemingway when I adapt to this logic:

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or a slightly longer piece:

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Secondly, shame on those that even judge and ridicule another writer in the first place. Perhaps they themselves are feeling slightly insecure within their own writing (news flash we all feel this way about our writing) that they feel the need to lash out at another. Or maybe they are just that old fart sitting in the corner bemoaning how us young folks got it all wrong. (Sorry to all you old farts I do love the ones in the corner rooting us young folks on)

Speaking of young folks. I’ve recently taken to utilizing my Instagram site for more than just a gallery of my photography, as I discovered quite the community of poets and writers alike over there. I have been in awe over and over and over again at the words I’m reading, passionately so by the likes of teens and twenty somethings.  This is where I must admit to eating crow upon talking one night to a fellow writer of my discovery and pegging Instagram as the “young crowd” and seemingly “angsty”. I ate my own words not long after that upon discovering these talented young souls that write both in quick snippets and long passages.

Lastly, I think it is imperative for us to embrace one another within whatever writing community we find ourselves in. We are a unique lot. We strive to be our own voice. Whether that’s in short waves or long cruise ship journeys, it makes no difference. As long as we continue to be true to ourselves, even if that puts us out there by ourselves amongst the Emily’s and Poe’s of the world. Don’t be afraid to be a Hemingway. Do you. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re simply writing in a “trend” If so, it’s the longest damn trend I’ve seen still going strong.

I’d love to hear your opinions or if you want to share that you’ve experienced this. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Be kind to each other.

 

j

 

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