Poetic License or Self-Indulgence?

I love writing poetry. Sometimes the ideas and words form sultry webs in my mind for me to unravel and put back together again for others to understand. For me, that is the key to my poetry. My thoughts, though tangled they may be for a time, must ultimately be understood by others for it to have value and meaning.

I am not a tortured soul. I am not an inner dweller. I am mostly happy with my life, with the exclusion of the normal pain one goes through due to loss and.. well… the normal trials and tribulations of living.  

Although I fancy words, I choose those that others will grasp intellectually and emotionally. If a poet intends to share the work, shouldn’t it be in a language that the masses can understand? Too much symbolism and metaphor leaves me questioning. Not the contemplative kind of questioning, but the kind that asks, “Did you really want me to get what was inside your heart and mind when you wrote this, or were you self -stimulating?”  ‘Cause I kinda feel like a voyeur sometimes when reading some people’s poetry. There is not a chance in hell of me ever understanding the inner workings of their minds. Is it poetic license or self-indulgence?  “Oh pardon me, I’ll just let you be alone with yourself. Just get it all out and let me know when you’re all done.”

 In poetry, and I’ve commented on this to some people already, we bare our souls and hearts for public viewing and judgment. We can either be celebrated or ridiculed and we take a deep breath until we know which way the wind is going to blow, for it may very well be our last. So why, if some call themselves Poets, are their poems so “deep” the readers can’t see to the heart of it? How can the public engage in empathy or live vicariously through the poem when it can’t even be understood?

I yearn to understand the nuances of the poetic world. Right now my vision is quite simplistic, and I get a sense that there are layers to uncover. Here is my poetic identity: When I write poetry just for me, it is just that. For me. I don’t share it with anyone. So it can be as far out and obtuse as my mind can go, and I still get it. Now, when I write poetry for others, I mean for them to connect with its message. And in my humble opinion, the message should be loud and clear.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Ruth says:

    Thank you for clearly describing an issue that effects many of the arts. I like your perspective that if it is for yourself let it stay for yourself. Sharing your heart make it clear for others to see you are sharing and what you mean. Also, I like the aspect that I have no control over what the viewer or in your case the reader brings to the interpretation of what is shared. So the connection may be different than anticipated. By giving feedback I think the experience can enrich both the creator and the viewer.

    1. deenaremiel says:

      I so agree with you Ruth! Technology has enabled us to share feedback instantaneously, thereby creating a vital conversation between creator and viewer, allowing for more than just a one-way diatribe from a reviewer.

  2. Judy says:

    Actually, I think that could be said of anything shared. I choose to accept what’s offered or turn away. As it relates to poetry, one of my best friends writes poetry to please herself (she writes because she must) and thankfully she is willing to share it. She has an usual gift for using unexpected words, and the pictures she is able to paint with a minimal number of words is astonishing. But I recognize that part of my enjoyment is that I know her, and I recognize her in the writing. Then there is the poetry I’ve read and thought, “I’m so glad I don’t know you.” Guess you can look at it as a first impression as to whether or not you want to explore the possible relationship. 🙂

    1. deenaremiel says:

      What you also do, Judy, is understand her contextual meaning. I’ve read a lot of poetry over the years and I have to laugh, because when I disect certain poems into their smallest parts, their words, I find I understand the meanings of the words perfectly. But when I read them all together as the poet intended, I get completely befuddled. What the heck are you trying to tell me? LOL

      1. Judy says:

        They’re more confused than you are? ;-D

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