craft, creative writing, poetry, writing

On poetry

Poetry is a useful practice for a writer at any level. It is a tool to hone focus and develop clarity of expression, in that we all have an inherent sense of what a poem is, to us as individuals, so we give ourselves room to play. 

Benjamin Franklin would translate his own prose into poetry as an exercise in  consolidation. You can do this as a literary x ray to find flaws in your own prose. 

A good friend of mine once said that my prose reflected what was in my head whilst my poetry reflected what was in my heart. I would say that you should, as with any artistic path, work from a place of genuine emotion and passion, and not as a limiting choice. Write for a person, an ideal, a belief and put your heart into the work. 

Don’t let anyone stop you from expressing yourself. Use a pen name, keep it private if you want to, but do the work and find solace in it. It can be healing or a beautiful riposte to injury, but mostly it is an art form that invites everyone. Good or bad are relative terms and don’t apply if you love what you do. 

I will let you in a secret, I don’t necessarily rate myself as a poet. I write poetry and enjoy it but I’ve never submitted any poetry for publication. The means of expression is what matters and the honesty of that expression is what resonates with people. 

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