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Bad Poetry - Why Write It?

by Evelyn Cole

For Good Relationships with Yourself

You can write bad poetry, can you not? Why do so? Here are three reasons:

1. If you think it doesn't have to rhyme or be any good, you will write a poem each time you are struck by awe, struck in the gut, struck in the heart for good or bad.

2. If you write some, you will read one of mine. (below) Then you will start a heartfelt relationship with me.

3. You will soon afterward discover what is really important to you in all your relationships.

Many people assume that poetry is hard to understand or boring. Some academic poems are boring because they are simply showing off erudition. But poems about momentous or weird little experiences that strike the poet are wonderful to hear. Some are better than monologues from well known stand-up comics.

Poetry likes a strong feeling and the courage to express it with the power of that feeling. No holding back. Flat out condensation of the moment.

When you write bad poetry you feel gloriously alive. You improve all your relationships.

Eventually, you may re-write and turn your poems into some really good stuff.

Poetry won't make you money, but it will make you rich. Here's one of mine that set me free. See if you can tell how it set me free. If you have any questions, write to me.

CRAVINGS by Evelyn Cole

I want to put out bowls of candy/to welcome every guest/ all kinds of sweets/ dripping with decadence

to offer red wine with legs/ stuffed grape leaves, Retsina, Italian prawns/carrot flan, Incan fire dip

and succulent salads /chilled ready to serve/ spinach, asparagus, pistachios /all fresh aphrodisiacs

marinated meats/ ready to grill to any taste/ from rare to rubber/ spiced tofu for some

a full shelf of pies I’ve just baked /with perfect crusts /Tiramisu and mocha mousse too /and apricot clafoutis

I have a craving for candy I don’t eat/a passion for cooking concoctions others won’t touch/ a yearning for money to give it away/


A craving to please /to ease

Why? A craving to give /to live?

Ah, Do I need to put out /or die?


That last stanza took me by surprise.

Here is what the former U.S. poet laureate, Stanley Kunitz, says about poetry. It's wild and wonderful.

Saturated with Impulse Stanley Kuntiz from “The Braid”

"So much of the creative life has its source in the erotic. The first impulse is strongly erotic, but then one becomes reflective--a philosophic human being, an explorer--and then as one grows older and older there’s a need to renew that energy associated with erotic impulse.

"A poet without a strong libido almost inevitably belongs to the weaker category; such a poet can carry off a technical effect with a degree of flourish, but the poem does not embody the dominant emotive element in the life process. The poem has to be saturated with impulse and that means getting down to the very tissue of experience. How can this element be absent from poetry without thinning out the poem?

"That is certainly one of the problems when making a poem is thought to be a rational production. The dominance of reason, as in eighteenth-century poetry, diminished the power of poetry.

"Reason certainly has a place, but it cannot be dominant. Feeling is far more important in the making of the poem. And the language itself has to be a sensuous instrument; it cannot be a completely rational one. In rhythm and sound, for example, language has the capacity to transcend reason; it’s all like erotic play.

"That’s the nature of aesthetic impulse, aesthetic receptivity. Whether you’re walking through the garden or reading a poem, there’s a sense of fulfillment. You’ve gone through a complete chain of experience, changing and communicating with each step and with each line so that you are linked with the phenomenon of time itself. The erotic impulse is so basic to human experience that we can never be free from it, even in old age."

So, dear reader, go forth and write poetry.

Copyright 2006 Cole's Poetic License

© Evelyn Cole, MA, MFA, The Whole-mind Writer
Cole’s chief aim in life is to convince everyone to understand the power of the subconscious mind and synchronize it with goals of the conscious mind.

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