Thursday, 6 October 2016

The Poet The Reader And The Problem

So as a poet i tend to pretty much write about everything.  And I mean everything.  Half the stuff I write about has nothing to do with me.  Okay way more than half.  Just ideas, random musings that pop into my head that get put into physical form. But apparently this isn't true.

When I the poet write a poem it's almost always nothing personal.  I have an idea, an emotion that sometimes isn't even my own.  It's been expressed to me by friends I come in contact with or random things that show up in my facebook or google feed.  I sit back and go into that place, think, and write.  When I'm writing, yes it is all about me.  When I'm done it's all about did I say it well enough for people to understand it.  My edits are always minor.  A word here and there, spacing to make the poem look the way I want.  Comma placement, little things.  I almost never do any serious rewriting.  Hell I can't even remember doing anything that serious in the near past.  All these things are to make sure that I convey certain emotions well for the reader.

The reader.  The poem is about you.  How it connects with you.  What emotions and experiences through your lifetime have lead you to react the way you react to the poem.  Whether it makes you happy, sad, angry, confused or contemplative.  The words are designed for you to go on a personal journey through your own wealth of material gained by basically living.  This is why there are so many interpretations of one poem and almost all are right.  It's very rarely you can't back up your opinion without lines from the poem in question.  The experience should be uniquely yours.

The problem.  People always think the poem is about you.  Le sigh. I've written poems where I am a teenage boy, a pregnant mother, straight, bisexual, christian atheist.  I most definitely am not all of these things.  This causes problems because you can almost never write anything crazy.  Eminem is a good example of this.  Apparently no one understands metaphors for some reason.  Seriously we watch movies with mobsters, murder, sex, gunfights, rape, espionage, betrayal, love, comedy, and all sorts of really intense scenes, and I've never heard someone say 'oh where you raped as a child' to a script writer.  As an author it's our job to be able to feel what other people feel and sell it.  If you don't believe it then we haven't done our job.

Reading a poem more concerned about what this says about the author instead of what it is trying to say to you misses the mark.  How can words speak to you if you're too busy focusing on the author of the poem instead of the words or emotions within the lines and how they are related to you.  Seriously I've written a good bit of suicide poems, antigod poems, anti-relationship poems, and the like.  I"m definitely not anti-relationship not by far.  But you know people read a poem and it's all I"m so glad you happy, or why are you so sad and blah blah blah.

So yeah.  I've heard a lot.  And I mean a lot of writers complain about this.  It's like the logic switch switches off from the general public.  They read books watch movies and just take it at face value but write a poem.  Something that should be selfish and all about them and thier experience and somehow magically they are looking into your soul, or trying, instead of looking within themselves to get whats for them.  The work is either for you or it isn't for you, no harm done if it don't speak to you.  After you have conncected to the poem then try to think about what the author is trying to say.  If you line up great... if not, well that isn't what it says to you.  And that's perfectly fine.  Just please for the love of god stop roughing poets up.  LOL.  Seriously every painting an artist paints is not a selfie.  Poems are almost never selfies either.

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