There are those that say I’m at my best when I’m writing poetry. I think there’s some truth to that. But, whereas many poets adopt signature styles, themes, or motifs, I refuse to do that.
As “refined” as poetry often seems to be, the thing that I like most about much of my own poetry is that it is unrefined. I feel what makes the best poetry is raw emotion and unfiltered thinking. Most of my best poems are products of sheer inspiration.
That isn’t to say you shouldn’t slave over a poem. There are a few that I have, yet I always feel unhappy with those pieces in particular. I’ve come to feel that no poem is ever truly complete without a reader. I believe that a poem actually completes itself within the reader, and I know I’m not alone in this thinking. Most of my poems can have multiple interpretations and are often left open-ended quite intentionally.
When Do I Choose Poetry Over Prose?
Poetry is a way for me to share ideas and concepts that I feel mere prose may not properly capture. This means that I often abandon any rhyme scheme, but not always. I tend to use stanzas, but not always. There isn’t one poem I can really look at and say: “That’s definitely my poem.” I purposely don’t have a favorite way to write poetry. I write poetry as it suits me at that moment.
The reason I use the idea of “from the pages of spiral notebooks” as the overarching “theme” of my poetry is that’s where most of my poetic work has come from. Some of my poems came from scrawls in the margins of various class notes over the years. Many literally came from spiral notebooks dedicated to streams of consciousness and journal writing. Yes, even now as many are input into a phone or typed on a computer in their initial form, my writings still have that free spirit to them.
The idea of poetry for me is that each individual piece has its own voice, its own purpose, and its own personality. They are blossoms, each with its own DNA and individual spirit. Over the years, I’ve pruned the garden for poems that lacked flow or essential purpose, but the misfits are usually left alone.
The variety is what I appreciate most about my own work. I want it to stay random and spontaneous. If I work too hard on one poem, what does it say for my others?
These are just thoughts on my own poetry. When it comes to others’ poetry, my viewpoint is rather different. I fully appreciate the blood, sweat, and tears that go into many poems, how carefully many words are chosen, how the rhythms and meter are so carefully crafted. Once I tried to do that with writing lyrics. Sometimes a lyric still comes along, but I no longer expect them.
Poetry is whatever it is to you. But, more importantly, a poem is at its best when it completes itself in the reader’s mind. That’s what poetry is for me.
~ Amelia <3