Questions for the Poets

If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. ― Emily Dickinson

Today I have a question for all of you poets out there.  I follow quite a few, and am amazed at the quality of your words.

My question: are you a poet in the educated way? I don’t mean did you go to college and MAJOR in poetry, but do you understand the various types of verses — not just the usual free form, ballad, or rhyme, but a tanka, lyric, and haiku?

Or do you just write what you feel and cut it up into short words or stanzas?

I had to look up some of the poetry styles above. Each form has its own rules. That’s the beauty of the outcome. Following the rules makes you understand the difficulty of the style. And from difficulty (usually) comes understanding and appreciation.

I have a computer full of poetry. Yet I’m not comfortable calling myself a poet. When I reread some of them it feels more like the second style — writing what I feel and cutting it up into short words or stanzas.

My second question:  What is your goal when you write a poem?

Is it to vent emotion? Show appreciation of something concrete? To let the ethereal run through you? Is every emotion yours? Or a pretend someone?

A lot of the poets I follow use poetry as a way of keeping a memory alive. Or an occasion. Others’ dark poetry opens a door to their own (possible) darkness. Others sound more like a story in stanza form.  And I am always curious as to what prompted those poems.

I wonder if writing poetry is like writing stories/novels. Most novels are pretend people and pretend situations, yet the emotions of the writer often takes over one of the characters…maybe even two. Novels need to make sense — they need a beginning, middle, and ending.

I see poetry as more of a passing thought.

I ask these questions, not to call you out, but to understand the world of the poet. You should be proud to call yourself a poet, whether you write “by the rules” or not. Whether you’re published or not. Whether you are Poet of the Year or not.

Let me know how a poet thinks!

 

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27 thoughts on “Questions for the Poets

  1. I don’t know if to call myself a poet, but i do write poems and without any boundaries. I think poetry is a necessity and an addiction, it is so much more.
    🌸🌸

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      1. Never. Just like I’m a writer, although I’ve not had anything published. I write. You write. You took the poet road, I took the fiction writer road.

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  2. I am not an educated poet, however I am a Poet who has been educated, although not in writing poetry ☺ I have done some Sedokas and Elfjes, but most of mine are not in any particular form. I suppose a poetry professor would look at them, shake his or her head, tell me what they are and how to improve them. I just write what I feel, usually sparked by a photo, a song or a memory. ☺💛

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  3. Hi Claudia, this is quite a questionnaire you’ve presented for me, and I’ve had to print off your article so I’m able to follow your questions.. Firstly, no I don’t really understand or able to write styles or structured poetry, but I’m quite amazed at the abilities of others that do so. I definitely write from the heart, and my words are a mixture of ballads and rhyme, totally influence by love of singer/songwriter/poets, whom I avidly follow. The second question… My writing goals in my poems, are basically about my emotions through my lifetime partnership with Carole. Also though, I like to branch out, into other various subjects of life around me, personal activities and events, humourous anecdotes about myself, fantasy stories, surreal or mystical occurrences, and even the retelling of my dreams, whatever they be. And with all my writings I obtain valuable therapeutic relief for myself, and a deep sense of self satisfaction that I’ve produced something meaningful for myself, and for others to read and enjoy.

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    1. Three times I tried to answer, three times I cut myself off at the knees. Ha! I love your response. You are a reflection of most poets…emotional, reflective, often writing about personal experiences and emotions. That is what I do. I don’t write poetry often, and when I do it’s because of a particular incident or emotional moment. Being a story/novel writer, my emotional moments become evolutionary under the guise of someone else. The plots are more daydreams than reflections of my life. That’s why you’re such a great poet…you have a way working the words into emotional statements that we all can feel. Thank you so much for your answer. I feel like I peeked into an open window!

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  4. Hi Claudia. I am interested in your questions about “poets.” Let me try to answer from my corner of the world. I don’t call myself a poet in an educated way, but I have educated myself and studied the various forms of poetry. In fact, as a teacher of intermediate and middle school children, I actually taught poetry forms to my students and helped them write their own poems and post them on their own links to our classroom website (hey, I did that with second graders back in 1999, too … the year before I retired from classroom teaching and began supervising student teachers at the college level!!). Come to think of it, lately I have been prompted to give some poetry pointers to some members of my local writers’ group, too (once a teacher, always a teacher, right?). But, that said, I don’t call myself an educated poet because I often stray from the rules and instead of writing from my head, I let the words flow from my heart. That’s the answer to one of your other questions, right? I let the emotions flow and I write to share a story, save a memory, or clarify my own thinking on an issue. Sometimes, like with the poem I just finished and posted on my blog, “Here’s an Ear to Hear,” it’s all of the above, plus an effort to inspire and instruct. I hope others who read it might be encouraged to take action on an auditory deficit, rather than ignoring it and making do with the compensations. I do think many of my poems have a beginning, middle and end, but certainly not all. Many, like “Partners” are rather one-dimensional – free verse – and designed to edify the love of my life while encouraging others to recognize and appreciate their life’s partners, too. Sometimes my poems tell a story, like the one I wrote about the time my son and his wife adopted their first child or the time I left Switzerland and headed for home after my “Four O’clock Cuddle” with my newborn middle grandson there. Those are stories I want my grandchildren to treasure as they absorb the love packed in the poems. Yes, most of my poems are more than a passing thought. But some may be just that. We all write for different reasons in different styles at different times, right? Keeps life interesting. Thanks for asking!

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    1. I soooo love your response! I love that poetry has been part of your life for so long. And that you were able to teach the basics to future poets. I hope too that those who read my writing be encourage to take action on their own to save a moment, a memory, in a form that is pleasing to the ear. I love your poetry, and I realize it’s not always so different between poets and fiction writers. I have my own poetry, but I think they were spur-of-the-moment things, not something that takes time and precision. And poetry needs a tighter reign for it takes up a smaller space. And the four o’clock cuddle — I take them whenever I see my grandkids. Have to! And I love your reflections that you want to leave something for your grandkids to read. That’s something I’d love, too. Thank you for your great response!

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      1. It was a good exercise to reflect on those questions and realize my own motivations. Sometimes we just DO without reflecting on the WHY. Whys are always enlightening. I love your writing – prose or poetry … always insightful and thought-provoking. Write on!

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      2. I think that getting others to speak of their motivations brings our own into focus. And I seem to have more respect for the world of writing in general when I hear my thoughts and reasons come out of others. You keep it up too!

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  5. I hold a BA in English.
    Form and structure fill my brain.
    A Sonet, a haiku I can do.
    but in mind a picture forms,
    a feeling builds, a story plays, and then
    bursts upon the page.
    The poem has it’s own life, and
    I the poet am simply the
    conduit for the poem to find the light
    of day.

    I am a poet, because poems are seeking to question
    the answers we know.

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    1. You are clever and articulate and know the way the world of poetry works. I so appreciate your expressing your thoughts in such a poetic manner! And I agree that the idea forms in the mind then builds it into something beautiful and memorable. And I love that you are simply the conduit for the poem to find the light. I believe we all are conduits in the written world.

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    1. Oh my good friend! Your photography is poetry for the eyes! Maybe you can share what inspires you for your photography. Do you take emotional photos? Photos that have a special meaning to you? See…you ARE a part of the poetry community!

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      1. You are too kind !! What I look for to take pictures off is something that gives me a better feeling(hoping it will give others a better feeling too), you’ll never find death or destruction in my pictures. It is a wellknown fact that sick people get well sooner when there is a beautiful picture or painting in their room to look at…..

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      2. I so agree. I don’t take pictures of destruction nor do I write about them. I let others take that painful task. I even hate killing off someone in my books! So I embrace the beauty of the world just like your pictures do. And you do such a GREAT job of it!

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  6. There a so many different kind of poets. For myself I don’t follow rules, not in poetry not in other ways. I follow what I need to follow. I write what I just feel to write. I don’t think about it. But a thinker I am certainly.

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