Personal thoughts…

Tech, Hockey, and random thoughts…

How one writes

I don’t know… but I think I write differently than others. I’m not sure I ever really realized this before, or if I did I gave it no conscious thought or consideration but today I was reading poetry online from would-be amateur poets much like myself. Their comments made me realize…
When I write a poem, I never just decide “hey I’m going to write a poem” and do so, I don’t think about what I’m writing. I don’t choose a topic, and write a line… then sit and think about what to put next. I never go back and change or alter anything.
Reading what others have said it seems like they consciously decided to start writing poetry and when they do it’s something they actively desire and want to do.
They’ll sit down to write a poem, decide the topic and then decide what to say. Working slowly and carefully coming up with each line or word one by one to craft the best poem they can.

I honestly can think of only a handful of occasions since high school in which I did that. (High School was an exception-there you were told when to write, and often the topic to write on. You had no choice.) Every time I’ve done that the results have been… dismal, frankly only one of those poems was even passable. None of them I was particularly fond of, none evoked any real emotion. They’re not memorable in any way to me, and I’ve never felt any desire to go back and look at them.
Essentially they were little more than words on a page, that I feel nothing for. Little more interesting than a random note of no import at all.

Does that make me a bad poet? Maybe… it’s hard to say, I’m not sure. It’s certainly a defensible theory however.

I don’t think I ever decided one day to write poetry. I just did it. I think as far as I can remember even before I started writing poetry I’d always write down random little snippets of thought.
Today.. when I write a poem, I don’t decide to write a poem.
How it works for me is… well, a poem just comes to mind fully formed and I write it down. I make no conscious decision to write a poem, I’m not actively thinking about poetry.
I could be doing anything… often completely unrelated in any way to poetry or literature or art in general. A poem will just pop into my head. And I write it down.
That’s all. Then I go back to doing what I was before. In some ways I’m not actually a poet, just the instrument through poetry comes out.

My best poems are when I’m feeling any intense emotion. Be it a positive or negative one. Love, sadness, depression, loss, anticipation…
Intense feelings evoke poetic thought. Conscious decisions to write do not.
I learned long ago to simply write what comes to mind. Trying to alter that/change it/improve upon it, or taking my time to perfect it… invariably yields results that are worse then what I started from.
Maybe I’m simply naturally gifted to write thoughts in poetic form, and so I’ve no need to put conscious thought to it.
Or maybe it’s due to a lack of talent? Maybe I just lack the experience necessary. Perhaps my mind is just not suited to such flights of fancy as poetry requires.
All of that makes logical sense.

Truth be told, it doesn’t matter how I do it. One way is probably not any better than another just different. I don’t understand the difference, and I’m curious how many others write in a similar fashion as I do. I’ve no idea how to go about finding out however, I don’t exactly know many people (anyone at all?) that writes poetry. Only handful that even care about it at all.
It’s quite plausible someone I know writes poetry and I’m simply not aware of it however, after all the vast majority of people I know probably haven’t a clue that I do.

It brings other questions to mind… how frequently and consistently do other people write?
Do they study various forms of poetry?
Do they pattern themselves after any notable poet?
Do they even read poetry beyond their own?

The answers to those questions probably vary from person to person.

To answer my own queries on the off chance anyone cares:
Myself, I write very inconsistently. There have been several times over the years that I’ve written 7-8 poems in a few hours time. That’s a rarity however, and a very distinct anomaly. Still it has happened perhaps 5-6 times that I can recall.
Other times I’ve written nothing at all for several months.
About a yr ago I wrote maybe 40 poems in two months time. An extremely rapid pace for me.
In all the time since then I’ve written perhaps 5. Now I’ve written 5 in the last week.
It’s possible albeit very unlikely I’ll write nothing for the next year. It’s also possible although a tad less likely still that I’ll write 400 poems in that year.

I’ve studied a number of forms of poetry, mostly when I was ~17. Perhaps 18mnths ago I spent a few weeks reading on various forms of poetry and studying some lessons on how one writes poetry. I haven’t really done anything since, and I’m dubious I gained anything from it beyond a better working knowledge of various forms.
I tend to write almost exclusively freeform, usually thought not always there will be a consistent stanza pattern but that’s it.
Rarely I’ve written a haiku, a little more often a sonnet/cinquain/tanka. Nothing special, and no real art to most of my poems.

I don’t think I ever patterned myself after any poets. It’s hard to say, if I have it wasn’t an active choice. I’ve likely been influenced by many writers… and even more likely been strongly influenced by modern society outside of literature in my usage of language and general style of writing, along with the topics I’ve written on. My own style has changed somewhat over the years, and even now there is some deviation outside of my norm. As an example a handful of times I’ve written using early modern English (ala shakespearian English) a few other times I’ve written epic poetry… neither is something I’ve done more than a few times however.

I read other poets… but I wouldn’t consider myself well read. I have my comfort zone of knows poets and generally stick to them. Occasionally I’ll go looking for poetry on a specific topic if I’m in a mood of any intense emotion… if I see something a I really love I’ll look for more by that writer. Most of them time I’ll just read what other amateur poets have written.
I don’t think there’s any consistency in what I like.


November 18, 2006 Posted by | Literature/Poetry | 2 Comments