A Mishmash of Phraseology

Approaching Emerald Isle Beach in North Carolina

The path to success is never a straight line.

I’m always a little intimidated before I post something personal online and what’s more personal than poetry? You never know how something might go over considering that many poets are emotional wrecks as it is. <wink> :)

Before I post anything, I would like to take a moment to talk a bit about poetry and my style (or lack thereof).

I’ve always been intrigued when fellow poets write within intricate parameters, maybe it’s because I lack the technical skill or patience or both, but it’s impressive.


This is interesting. Do I design poems in funny or unique shapes? No. Do I follow guidelines of any kind? No. Do I use any specific rhyming pattern? No. Am I really a poet? I have often said “No”.

Though I’ve learned over the years that that is not necessarily true.

I’ve always been a writer, but I made no attempts at poetry or anything similar until I was almost 19 years old. In college, I took an extracurricular course in poetry. A group of 20 or so students and an English Professor met twice a week in the late afternoon.

On my first day with this group, I heard a half dozen or so read their respective poems as the Professor critiqued, and he was very kind I thought, never a harsh word. Then he asked me to read two of mine. So I did, and when I was finished he said, and I quote: “Class, this is a perfect example of how not to write poetry”. Perhaps I had an over-inflated ego because my whole life I’ve been a straight A student in English and always heard people tell me they loved my writing, but that really crushed me. I felt as though I had been lied to for years.

He went on to (pardon my French) tear me a new asshole. I didn’t know how to feel. I was angry, hurt, and humiliated. I wanted to quit, and I did.

I wrote nothing for years, until I befriended a local band which got my creative juices flowing again. I started writing songs, but everyone told me they sounded like poems.

A short while later, a friend talked me into joining an online diary site. I despise writing a journal, hey, it’s not for everyone, but he said that he just writes nonsense entries and that he doesn’t use it as a diary. I joined; a few months later I posted my first poem, but I kept them far and few between, the comments I received kept me interested.

I started submitting ‘poems’ to various contests, and I won a few, but I couldn’t submit what I really wanted to due to the line limitations on many of them.

The next thing I know, I join a poetry website designed largely around critiquing from other authors / poets, both published and not. I was intimidated to be perfectly honest, but my writing was well received. By this time, my ‘poetry’ had evolved into something undefinable. It wasn’t really prose nor a free write style, and I often went out of my way to break conventional format which in time became as natural as breathing. I didn’t want my poetry confined to rules; I just wrote. However it came out, it came out, and when it was done, I just left it for other people to classify. Funny things is… no one could, and I was just fine with that.

Some of my earlier pieces are more pedestrian and cliche’ style-wise, but as with anyone else’s writing it has evolved over time. The only thing that most everyone agreed upon was that my writing is poetry. To come full circle; what is poetry? I define poetry as such: Anything you say from your heart can be poetic and if something is poetic, it is under the umbrella of poetry. There are literally dozens upon dozens of variations of poetry, one not more poetic than another. Not all poetry is emotional, though I prefer it to be. I don’t write my poetry for you to understand them. I never explain them to anyone. My poetry is interpretive. All I want out of my readers is that you feel my words, their heaviness, their depth. I want to connect on an emotional level. If you tell me your interpretation of a piece and it’s the exact opposite of what I was thinking when I wrote it, I think that’s awesome. You won’t know that it’s the opposite because I won’t tell you, but it still meant something to you, and that’s what matters. We are two different people with different pasts and on different paths. We might not share experiences, but we do share the emotions of those experiences. We all share those emotions at one point or another.

Poetry does not have to be confined to the written word. If looking up at the sky wasn’t poetic, there would be no poems about clouds. Poetry is all around us and within us; finding familiarity in another persons words… that in itself is poetry.

Vague & descriptive (2 words not commonly placed together is the best way to describe my work). As the great T.S. Eliot once wrote: “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood” and I couldn’t agree more.

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