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Comments that make you go – Huh? What? It wasn’t about me …I swear!!! - Vicky Tsiluma's Blog

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Comments that make you go – Huh? What? It wasn’t about me …I swear!!!

Blog Posted:1/14/2014 11:31:00 PM

I like it when people comment on poems. It’s a good way of not only encouraging the poet but also expressing your thoughts on the poem and improving your analytical and critical skills.

Then enter the comments on poems that are written by you but are not about you. That’s where the comments get interesting. Years ago when my former English teacher pointed out that the writer and the persona are not necessarily the same person, I kinda took that to heart. I internalize the situations I observe, think about, imagine or just stumble upon and put out the emotions they cause as if they were my own. Then come the comments …people sympathizing with ‘my’ situation’, people giving me advice on what to do about it and heartrending still are the people who send mail telling me how the poem is exactly what happened to them. I mean, seriously, how is one supposed to deal with such comments?  Should you be like ….thank you for your sentiments but that poem really wasn’t about me?


What about you? Have you ever received such comments? Or have you ever unknowingly written such comments? How do you deal with it? I’d like to know.


Ps, this is totally what I have experienced and while some poems I write (about 10 percent) refer to my own experiences most of them do not.

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Date: 2/11/2014 7:23:00 AM
Hi Vicky see comment below.
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Tsiluma Avatar
Vicky Tsiluma
Date: 2/11/2014 7:38:00 AM
Right as always Richard! It's a compliment - one that we should all appreciate.
Date: 1/19/2014 6:30:00 AM
First person pronouns will tend to do that to a reader...You assume. I often will write..."If this is non-fiction...I hope you are seeing it through." Something to that effect. EVERY SINGLE POEM has a bit of the author's heart and life infused in it. Even what you chose to write for a contest, if not something that you are personally going through at the moment, is something that resonates with you, has touched your life, has affected you in some way. In that respect, I believe every poem is personal. I take what is happening in my life, embellish, change, reconstruct it to suit my fancy. If I get worried it will be misinterpreted, I write a disclaimer. Interesting blog. Thanks for sharing.
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Tsiluma Avatar
Vicky Tsiluma
Date: 2/11/2014 7:37:00 AM
Huh, I concur with you both! So true about poems having a piece of our hearts you explain it well Eileen!
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Eileen Manassian
Date: 2/11/2014 7:33:00 AM
And I concur with Richard...... ;-)
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Richard Lamoureux
Date: 2/11/2014 7:22:00 AM
I concur with you Eileen. A piece of us is hidden within what we write. I view it as a positive when what I write resonates with someone and they feel compelled to connect with me. There is no greater compliment we can receive.
Date: 1/16/2014 11:09:00 AM
A lot of people write about their own experiences... some don't... But when you touch some one enough... They will respond in any number of ways... Let them... accept their thoughts... They wrote you because you were there in their hearts... If you didn't have the experience... At least you understood it like few do... or they wouldn't have written back. It's nice to touch people. Many have been very alone in so much.
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Date: 1/16/2014 9:54:00 AM
Poems can be an on going of one's life and from that maybe one can learn? this is an interesting blog Vicky,, because what you say is people get in touch and tell of their own experiences regarding your poem,,,fiction or not,, all i can say is this,,,if the poem is beneficial to whom ever, one as created a masterpiece..
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Date: 1/16/2014 8:00:00 AM
Most of what I write is about me and is usually overtly lugubrious and melancholy, with just enough hope to offset the cynicism (I think/hope lol). This was a great blog to read and got my mind going this morning so I thank you for this highly interesting post :) ~Chan
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Date: 1/16/2014 5:18:00 AM
I write "This is a fictional write" Or "It's a personal or autobiographical" etc. Vicky
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Date: 1/16/2014 12:11:00 AM
Hey guys, thank you so much for your contributions to the topic. Okay, here’s what I’ve garnered so far: 1. Allow people to react to the poem in whatever way they feel fit. 2. Put a disclaimer on poems you don’t want people to think is about you. 3. Take the comments in your stride. Thank you all for participating.
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Date: 1/15/2014 5:56:00 PM
Vicky, more than half my poems are NOT about me either. Maybe my fantasies, maybe things I have read about. When I KNOW that it is a topic I do not want people to think is MY experience, I simply write a note at the bottom : This is not about me!!!
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Vicky Tsiluma
Date: 1/15/2014 10:13:00 PM
I like your idea of the note - short and explanatory. I wonder if it changes how people perceive the poem. I've seen some poems where the poet writes it's for a contest and instead of people commenting on the poem, they start commenting on how well the poem should do in the contest!
Date: 1/15/2014 11:50:00 AM
I live, I learn. I will bump into poems about suicide or heartbreak. I try not to accuse the poet, if this is them or not. I will leave a deep remark, and say wow, you took me into a world I relate to one way or another. I don't like stepping on other poets toes. A few years back a young poet used this site for attention, she kept writing poems about suicide. I sent her soup-mails. Offered her a shoulder and friendship. "This poet now stops by once in a full moon giving me thanks." Vicky, HOW WOULD YOU APPROCH THE SITUATION?
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Vicky Tsiluma
Date: 1/15/2014 2:13:00 PM
Whoa, that's a tough one, personally I stay away from young poets. I taught a class of teenagers some years back and one thing I quickly learnt is to stick to academics and refer them to qualified counselors - teenagers are suffering and it requires a lot of responsibility to deal with them and I didn't want to take a false step. In this case, I would encourage the poet to forget about the past and to keep writing positive poems and then I would cut off the connection, but that's just me.
Date: 1/15/2014 7:02:00 AM
i try to send comments that give additional dimension to form and theme, as well as the overall emotional appeal.. well, sometimes i may not be too detailes owing to the many writers i want to reply to, but i do my best.. and i like reviews, insights on mine that simply awe me in terms of a diffrent perspective fomr the reader.. hope i'm making sense...
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Vicky Tsiluma
Date: 1/15/2014 7:21:00 AM
Of course you're making sense - it's always nice to see how a poem changes when you take on another person's perspective. I personally just comment on the theme - if it's not free verse I usually don't know what to say about the form.
Date: 1/15/2014 6:47:00 AM
Here is a nice quotation from Steve Maraboli “It's funny how, in this journey of life, even though we may begin at different times and places, our paths cross with others so that we may share our love, compassion, observations, and hope. This is a design of God that I appreciate and cherish.” (Steve Maraboli)
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Date: 1/15/2014 6:19:00 AM
Vicky, 75 percent of my poems have nothing to do with me. However my goal is to make the reader feel as if it is. lol, sometimes I like and don't like the impact. ** for example. my Teddy Bear- poem was about an 11 year old who got murdered after the mom's boyfriend molested her. the news was sad, it hit the news-- the nanny cam in the teddy bear saw everything. Many think it was about me. (I did not mention the murder) I got lots of disturbing soup mail. One person angered me so badly, I chewed his head off. It's hard to explain to poets, just cause I write it, don't mean I lived it. Well I do have creepy poems, that became true future events.
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Vicky Tsiluma
Date: 1/15/2014 7:27:00 AM
Yikes! I wouldn't say my experience has led me to wanting to chew someone's head off and hopefully it never comes to that. I totally get the point of making the reader want to feel - if only more comments would be geared towards the poem and not the poet...oh well...
Date: 1/15/2014 1:18:00 AM
Poetry serves many purposes; it can make you cry, it can make you laugh, it can cause you to think, it can be provoking, it can stir anger, sympathy, compassion and I could go on and on. What I would do in such circumstance, I would thank those individuals for expressing their sentiments or concerns. They might not be reaching out to you the person, but more so the character in you that experienced the situation and was expressed in poetic language.
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Vicky Tsiluma
Date: 1/15/2014 7:37:00 AM
Hi Christine, thank you so much for valuable comments. Poetry does stir up a lot of emotions. It doesn't offend me when people think the poem is about me but it does make me feel guilty. It's like someone is connecting with you through a shared experience only the experience is a lie as it were. I like your point of taking it as a compliment - and indeed it is, many poets would like their poems to evoke emotions.
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Christine Phillips
Date: 1/15/2014 1:18:00 AM
Most people write from experience or imagination, events, something that might happen in their environment, they write about people, prophetic revelation and many other circumstances that the poet encounters in life whether are real or unreal. What the poet expresses during those stages is a reflection of feelings and emotions that he or she endures while conceptualizing those verses. The poet has somewhat taken on the life of the character, which is why when you watch a movie or a stage drama it is so real and true to life. Poetry is a category of the performing arts and it was meant to do the same. Please do not be offended when people express their sentiments, but rather be grateful that someone cares about the character expressed in your poem, I would take it as a compliment.

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