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Forum Home » Writing Poetry » Why, and who are you writing for

Ways to improve your poetry. Post your techniques, tips, and creative ideas how to write better.
6/30/2016 2:24:01 AM

David Smith
Posts: 13
There are many reasons why I write poetry and each poem may have been written for a different reason.
Feelings play a big part in my writing. When I first started writing it was to impress a lady. So looked for words that would best suit that purpose and my feelings towards her.

Poems like "on stage" (posted) were to celebrate a special time and place and to acknowledge that to the people involved. For some of my poetry the message takes centre stage. Some is more like doodling. Some is for fun. Some is to experiment and fit a particular category. It is all for me part of growing and understanding. I have written some poetry as a record of feelings and motivations. Some poems are to release pressure and keep my sanity. I am now in the refinement stage and poetry soup is helping. Some poems are to reach out and connect with others. Asking questions of myself has helped maybe it could help you too.
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10/23/2017 4:44:19 AM

Alyssa Tallent
Posts: 11
I am writing for people I love)

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10/27/2017 3:29:59 AM

Elizabeth Wilkin
Posts: 2
I write to get the emotions I feel onto "paper". I feel so much, and so deeply it needs a place to go.
edited by Elizabeth Wilkin on 10/27/2017
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11/16/2017 4:17:12 PM

Bob Atkinson
Posts: 237
Why write Poetry?
My feeling is you are communicating your emotions to those not yet born. You are adding to the quality of recorded history. Prose attempts to describe perceived reality. Poetry attempts to document your reaction to perceived reality. Simple as that. Any other reason would be subordinate to this. This is the only reason that makes poetry valuable.
For personal reasons only? Then write it and stick it in a desk drawer or the waste basket,
nobody cares.
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11/28/2017 11:14:02 AM

Stephen Wilson-Floyd
Posts: 49
Rather than put down what I think is maudlin poetry, I have come to realize people write for different audiences. Some is written for self-discovery, some friends and family, some for members of the writer's church, synagogue or temple. I have come to find out a lot about myself from writing. I never believed in what is called a "writer's voice" until I developed one. I've written a lot of pretentious poems and discarded them all. I like to think, I've become a less phony person because of it. The speaker who speaks in my poems, is not too bad a person after all. Archibald McLeash considered writing his poems as a kind of religion in itself. What I understand about this, I agree.
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4/1/2018 9:08:41 PM

Tim Peterson
Posts: 1
It is therapeutic. Observation, description, and appreciation without judgement.
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1/31/2019 6:24:50 PM

J P Marmaro
Posts: 8
The urge to write poetry is often claimed to be that of self-expression. And truth to tell, this is indeed an important part of it. But if it is the only reason, it can degenerate into sheer narcissism. So much purported poetry is nothing more than self-indulgence. There is also the notion that poetry can be "anything" one deems it to be, which might account for the depressingly and overwhelmingly large proportion of it being mostly doggerel. Rules do matter, both of grammar and form. Take for example, the pandemic of stilted diction. "Poetic license" doesn't justify twisting word-order to improve scansion-- and using false (or non-) rhymes in place of actual rhymes is simply laziness. Both practices are of disappointing frequency, even ubiquity.

The assertion that poetry is self-expression is, on analysis, meaningless: all language could be said to be self-expression. And if one is merely concerned with expressing oneself, straightforward prose is simpler, more direct, and more efficient. But then, I believe poetry is much more than simple self-expression. The essence of poetry is twofold: what one wishes to say, and how one says it.

The "what one wishes to say" part? If one is going to the trouble of crafting poetry, then what one wishes to say should be something, in one way or another, out of the ordinary. Either the ideas or subject themselves ought be in some way special, or it might be that something quite quotidian is approached in an unusual or surprising fashion. Lots of people are moved by a lovely sunset or a flower, by love or patriotism, by feelings or impressions. Poetry takes these experiences, crystallizes them, and expresses them in a way which ideally might enable the reader to have that same experience, or impression, or emotion. It can do this with the most abstruse philosophical or metaphysical rumination, or to the other end of the spectrum, the most basic, childlike, or naïve reaction. The point is to take this experience, or realization, or epiphany, and couch it in language that makes it possible for others to share.

Which brings us to the second half of the equation, how one expresses it. The point is that poetic language is not everyday language, though it should not do violence to the rules of grammar and diction. One may employ a wider and richer vocabulary than ordinary speech, and one should strive to find the most apt words and images to convey thought. Indeed, I view poetry as a kind of intellectual, verbal athletics, exercising one's command of the language rather like calisthenics. Part of this is being able to mold one's expression into the various poetic forms, which by their nature influence what is being said; and the stricter the forms, the more challenging it is to utilize them. (Free verse may be "free", but it seems to require even more unusual observations -- what one says needs to be that much more special and apposite than ordinary speech, more surprising or memorable -- otherwise, where's the poetry in it?) And in all poetry, one needs to have a feel for the sensual aspect of the language, the very sounds of the words: it should be beautiful, or tragic, or humorous, euphonic or jarring or startling, but in any case, it needs to be compelling in a way ordinary speech rarely is. If one might be permitted to draw an analogy with the visual arts, words, rhythms, rhymes, sentences and structures are to a poet as medium, colors, brushes, canvas, and composition are to a painter.

Why then is one moved to write poetry? In my case, it is an urge to share a thought or realization, to transmit an idea or observation in a way at once unusual but also accessible. There is of course a confessional element to it, but perhaps the most significant motivation is the sheer will to create.
edited by jpmarmaro on 1/31/2019
edited by jpmarmaro on 1/31/2019
edited by jpmarmaro on 2/9/2019
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3/6/2019 5:16:00 AM

Kevin Fairbrother
Posts: 4
I see my poetry, as an expression of thoughts and feelings, of the surrounding natural world, I then put it into words with not to much editing, as I find this takes away the originality of what my thoughts or feelings were at the time.

I write to entertain and challenge myself, if it turns out ok then I might post it somewhere.

Having just come back to PS, I feel it hasn't changed a great deal, lots of lookers but not many comments for poems submitted.

There should be a golden rule for Soupers that if I read one of your poems and comment, then you should return the favour.

Have a good day.

Cheers.

Kev
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