Plato once said that “poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.” I see that to be an undeniable truth. Writing poetry is documenting your own person in a cryptic message to be both analyzed and admired. Often times I try to extract myself from my poetry; I will pick a random passerby and make them the subject of my poetic fantasies. It usually isn’t until my poems are read by other people who point out how utterly personal they are, that I become aware of portraying my own psyche. Whether you are aware of it or not each poem you write is intricately linked to you in one of the most personal and raw ways possible. The same goes with all forms of creativity. The craziest most unbelievable story can grow from what was once a grain of truth.
Together we will pick through these personal parts of ourselves, read them, listen to them and savor them. To be able to listen to another’s poetry is one of the most personal and rewarding creative experiences to have, and I can’t wait to see these personal glimpses of yourselves that you will share.
There have been many times in my creative writing classes that I’ve expressed some of my deepest emotions and fears but told the class that I took someone else’s experience and crafted it into the poem that I was presenting. Keep this in mind when you bring your poetry to the workshops, for your own work, and in respect to others’ work, too You can be as personal as you want and hide behind the guise of creativity and imagination, you can have your poem admired and analyzed, as well as yourself. Even though I would often tell myself this in my creative writing class, (that they didn’t know just how personal these poems and stories were), their critiques would still cut deep. One time someone suggested I changed one word in my poem but I loved it so much that I argued with them on why the word was essential for the poem to make sense in its entirety. Eventually, I learned to take the critiques lightly, that they were just personal suggestions that the reader has made in order to enhance the poem in their eyes. I also learned that sometimes these critiques can be thrown out the window if you are really that adamant about the choices you have made. At the end of the day, it’s still your voice, your words, and your poem.
I remember what it feels like to feel so vulnerable in front of a room of people that you hardly know, hearing them critique some of the most raw parts of your poem that you think would be better left untouched. In a world where strength and invincibility is admired, the virtues of vulnerability and openness are often pushed aside. Sometimes it’s ok to let your guard down and let the world see the thoughts and feelings you keep to yourself, even if they are hidden behind the guise of poetry and imagination.
And just to show that I can also be vulnerable below is a picture of one of my poems and a single critique that sparked a near 15 minute argument with my suite mates. In my creative writing class some of the students wanted me to change the word “since” to “and” but I argued that the whole reason she has thorns is because she’s a rebel, if you change the word “since” to “and” it just changes the entire meaning of the sentence! (This is an argument that still bothers me to this very day, I am very particular about the order and selection of specific words in poems).
See You Soon,