When I told a friend that I was about to write an article on poetry, she said, ‘who would have thought, even in the recent past, that one day one would have a chance to talk about poetry and even be heard?’
While I laughed, I realised that she did, in fact, have a point. Luckily, the internet, aside from filling our days with unnecessary information and time-wasting trash talks, has also widened our horizons in ways for which we should be most grateful.
I can’t help but notice that poetry gains more fans day by day. Even here, on Medium, where you could be forgiven for thinking poetry wouldn’t be favoured — and would be right if only considering the platform’s official administration — poetry has thrived. I find more and more poets joining the community, the inclusion of a ‘topic’ exclusively for poetry, publications welcome it, and personal poetry publications are being created every day.
But let’s take it from the beginning.
What is poetry all about?
Poetry has been called the language of emotion, a direct connection from soul to page or speech — for poetry lives most when spoken with passion. Do you agree? Let’s see what some legends had to say:
⦾ “One demands two things of a poem. Firstly, it must be a well-made verbal object that does honor to the language in which it is written. Secondly, it must say something significant about a reality common to us all, but perceived from a unique perspective. What the poet says has never been said before, but, once he has said it, his readers recognize its validity for themselves.” — Charles Simic
I think this is a quote that everyone should read. The option to post and publish on the internet these days has probably given us a little more freedom than necessary. When publishing our work (which means that people will see it), we owe to ourselves, to our work, and to our audience to be polished, to present the best outcome in the most professional manner possible. And don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying everything one writes must be a polished diamond. I’m saying one needs to work as hard as possible, do their best, give it some time and eventually decide if the particular piece is ready to meet an audience. In doing that, we can ensure not only that our work looks as good as we want it, but also that the message we are trying to convey (which is just as important) has been delivered successfully, and that it will, in fact, touch the receivers.
Quality over quantity; no matter how tempting it is to keep posting, to keep filling the internet with our presence. I guess the bottom line of this thought would be ‘respect ourselves, our work, our audience’ and hope that one day we will not need to scroll endlessly through the spam posts to find the ‘good ones’.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!
⦾ “No man was ever yet a great poet, without being at the same time a profound philosopher. For poetry is the blossom and the fragrancy of all human knowledge, human thoughts, human passions, emotions, language.” — John Keats
Philosophy within poetry. Poetry is philosophy. Isn’t it?
⦾ “The true philosopher and the true poet are one, and a beauty, which is truth, and a truth, which is beauty, is the aim of both.” — Archibald MacLeish
I strove with none, for none was worth my strife.
Nature I loved, and, next to Nature, Art;
I warmed both hands before the fire of Life;
It sinks, and I am ready to depart.
Walter Savage Landor (1775–1864)
⦾ “Everywhere I go I find that a poet has been there before me.” — Sigmund Freud
⦾ “Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words.” — Sigmund Freud
⦾ “Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own.” — Aristotle
⦾ “Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.” — T.S. Eliot
Besides the Autumn poets sing
A few prosaic days
A little this side of the snow
And that side of the Haze
⦾ “Poetry is what in a poem makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toenails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you know that you are alone and not alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared and forever all your own.” — Dylan Thomas
Well, maybe poetry is, after all, all these and even more, an endless journey in and out of ourselves and others, an exploration of life and death, of energy and movement and stillness and nothingness.
So together we will explore poetry through the filters of our experiences and knowledge, we will talk about its technical aspects but also about style and voice. We will learn and practice new forms, we will analyse the work of others, and we will try our hands at new things too.
But first, tell me: what would you like to learn? Under this post, let me know of your ambitions and difficulties, things you’d like to try, things you’d like to read about — anything that’s on your mind.
(Additional in-depth workshops can be provided to our Patreon community if we have enough participants.)
And don’t forget:
“To have great poets there must be great audiences too.” — Paul Engle
Support your fellow poets!
I hope you enjoyed the introduction and that we will go on a most exciting journey together.
That’s all for today.