Why I write Poetry

Writing is an art form and all art is a means of self expression. I weave words not yarn; mix metaphors not paint; rhythm words not chords. Words are my brushes and paper is my canvas. Poetry is the screen shot, screen grab of the writing world, fitting as much as possible in a succinct concise form. It is the literary equivalent of a selfie, a tweet – the Instagram of writing. Poems are this poets answers to the “Why”, attempting to satisfy my urge for closure, even if it is not forthcoming (which often it is not). Everyone is has to figure out there own “Why”, even this poet.

But Why ??

Writing poetry is able to put us in touch with people who are different from ourselves in a non-violent fashion, it becomes a means of pacifist activism. Writing has become who I am, it is both cathartic, healing, confrontational and a means of seeking (partial) closure or venting my darker emotions. My poems are a mix of thoughts, questions and ideas; from journey’s travelled, literal and imaginative; creating a picture of the world from my perspective. Even if, in the writing, there is no closure, that is the closure I require, at that moment.

“Poets have an audience because we need to know how to go about reaching the next day of our lives.”

It has been said, to use a bad metaphor: Poets are kind of like canaries in a coal mine. The conscience/voice of the voiceless. Often my poems, emerge from the pain of personal experience, leading to angry outbursts against the coal mine, in which I from time to time, find myself.

The Arrogance of Entitlement

The Banality of Corporate Deceit

Speaking for myself, but I’m reasonably sure other poets would at times agree. We can’t explain ‘why we write’, but they would certainly understand and agree, that we write for the love of writing poetry. Poems are literary mountains that need to be climbed, in a page or a few lines;  the poem has to be condensed, without straying from the main theme, and it also usually has a beginning, middle and (sometimes) an end. It is this journey which is the challenge, in most cases a deeply personal journey; so walk with me as we step back from your reality and gaze into the abyss of my mind, and let’s see what stares back.

In closing, ponder the words of John Keating from the film: Dead Poets Society.

We don't read and write poetry because it's cute.
We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race.
And the human race is filled with passion.
And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life.
But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
To quote from Whitman:
"O me! O life!...of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless
of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?"
Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play (goes on) and you may contribute a verse.
What will your verse be?

John Keating, Dead Poets Society.

A poet writes poetry because they love poetry

© 2016 Michael D Emmerich

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s