Monday, July 20, 2009

The Closet Poet

I have come across so many poets who tell me that they have hundreds of poems that they have written yet have never done anything with them. The poems are kept in boxes or folders and left there never to be born much like a bird in a cage never to be set free. The comments I hear are “they are just too personal for me” or “No one would understand them.”

Let’s take a look at each argument. They are just too personal. As writers everything we write has a personal element to it and as poets we express our deepest thoughts and feelings by writing these personal words. I’m not saying you have to dust off those poems and start submitting them for publication but to leave them grow old and unseen to me is a grave mistake. What you have to realize is that because they are so personal and drawn from life experience, by showing them to the world you may just help someone else.

The second argument “No one will understand them." Understanding poetry has nothing to do with trying to figure out what the poet is saying. When reading poetry it is about applying what we are reading to our own lives. How does that particular poem make you feel and what scenarios does it conjure up in your mind? Poems are meant to allow you to think and journey inside yourself. Granted there are poems out there which are created in order to teach and tell stories of history and otherwise but the majority are experiences captured in words and created to be shared and treasured.

I do understand that for the poet, poetry drawn from personal experiences is of a sacred genre all its own. I’ve also been there. However not sharing your gift of words scares me more than opening your heart and allowing people to see inside so that they may be helped in some way by what you have written.

So, dust off the poetry and show it to the world or at least to me.

15 comments:

rainfield61 said...

Poet is sometimes difficilt to be understood, not even in my mother tongue.
If I really love that, I use only my feeling.

Icy BC said...

What a wonderful to look at poetry! I think my poems sometimes had that depressing feel, but that were my raw feelings in a certain situation. Writing those were very therapeutic to me!

Ratty said...

This is why a blogging platform is such a good thing. A place like Blogger is a good place to store those poems or other writings so they will never be lost. And when that blog is opened to the public those poems can be shared with the world. It's all done without any more effort than hiding them away.

Maybe some of these poets and writers are self conscious about their work. They shouldn't be. Everything that's written has value. No matter what someone else might perceive, if it's worth writing down, it's worth reading.

betchai said...

i am glad you opened this up Jo, I hope this will encourage poet closets to come out and share their thoughts. I very seldom write poems, only when I am very inspired, and when I do, I usually take them out from my inner feelings, and once i start to write, it is indeed like a journey into myself.

I am glad for the blogosphere actually, for I do not have to keep my thoughts all to myself, it feels good to write and share.

Angel said...

You are so right! Being able to share my writing and poetry has helped to open me up in so many other ways. I think that it has enabled me to take more risks in my own life. It is a bonus if something that I write touches or helps someone else. I definitely would encourage more people to share!

Charity Joy Bell Childs said...

I agree with your first argument.

And I agree with your second one.

And...my writings are there for you to come and read, at any time. :)

Maybe sometimes, there is about a single person who won't understand what you write...but you know...it's really not your problem, because you don't write for that one single person, anyway. Besides, the person is probably just dumb. :)

zorlone said...

I agree with you 101% It was through poetry that I got to know a lot of people online and learned from other poets. As a result, my poems reflect those poets that I read.

So, even if there are people who wouldn't appreciate what I have written, chances are, chances would.

Z

Tom Atkins said...

Preaching to the choir on this one. Well said!

Dr. Lauren said...

You have to come to a point where you can have a voice. For me, it was confidence. That's what pushed me to finally publish on the net.

Robin said...

I'm so glad you wrote this post. I hid mine for years and it was difficult to share.
And you are so right... opening my heart is not only therapeutic for me but also satisfying when someone can connect to what I've written.

Poetic Shutterbug said...

rainfield, that is exactly how it should be interpreted.

Icy, that is exactly my point. Those raw feelings you express may just help someone else who reads your words. I know they have for me on many occasions.

Ratty, Eloquently expressed - you are absolutely correct.

betchai, well said - a journey into yourself.

Angel, thank you and you have the right idea on poetry.

Charity, I love the way you express your thoughts and I really enjoy dropping by and reading your poetry as often as I can. Thank you.

Z, 101% you are a doll.

Tom Atkins, Thank you so much.

Dr. Lauren, yes, confidence can do wonders. Thank you.

Robin, Exactly, And, I have connected to your poetry in so many ways, thanks.

cherie said...

rhymes off in Belfast,
a haiku in Rome,

just as sonnets last
to poets, a song!

Poetic Shutterbug said...

cherie, ah, love your style...

Stanis said...

i do believe, you are true beacon of hope to many with your words of encouragement. thanks for this post, hope a lot of poets will see it and forget about their fears and share their gift with the rest of the world. cheers!

RNSANE said...

Since I started writing poetry about the age of six, I have amassed quite a collection of poetry. I have published it in various forums, in your ezine, for example, given it to many people, and, most recently, enjoy putting it on helium. I still haven't gotten around to doing that chapbook which is next on the agenda!!!