Message to self : stop writing poetry. Why? Answer: because you are not writing anything else and poetry is not going to make you a living in writing.
The week began with a look through the ancient and not so ancient blog archives of Ripple, and ended with the editing and writing of several poems.
They just kept flowing, like the little girl who tells the porridge pot to cook in a fairy tale, until her whole town is covered in porridge, but in my case it’s poetry going bubble, bubble.
Is there such a thing as too much poetry?
Well there could be such a thing as too much hastily written, pure emotive poetry, but all poetry serves some purpose for writer and reader – from release, to communication of deep and complex meanings. I would recommend everyone write poetry.
Now whether I’d say everyone share every piece you’ve ever written, the editor part of me would say ‘no, keep it back and share what you feel is going to be helpful to share, or inspiring to read.’ Your criteria could be theme, technique, and a combination of both. Especially if you want your work to have ‘staying power.’
My son recently had to do an assignment to decide a poem to promote into a high school anthology, and another to throw out. He chose to chuck, what he considered, a standard Elizabethan love poem , because there were other far better poems from the same era in a collection and it had nothing interesting in the technique. Also the poem seemed written to ‘get a girl’ rather than last for all time. Remind you of any modern throw-away rock song? Hmm this reminds me of university classes where we studied poetic techniques from all eras.
I still recall my university class, but not the names of the students, more as personalities of the writers. The stand outs were sonnet boy, Jane Austen rewrite fanatic and Surfer man – and then there was me and according to one teacher I was at my best being pithy! And another I was a lyricist.
We had two very different teachers, one who was into the beauty and power of language and our message could be anything and another who felt that the message of ‘soul’ was cliché. I wrote a reactionary poem to that which never made it to my class folio – looking back it should have. We also had to write fractured fairy tales.
My own fractured fairy tale idea has just come whilst writing this piece – yes a magic poetry pot that keeps bubbling until everyone speaks in poetic verse and becomes Haiku Junko and Sonnet Steve – and is starring in their own mixed verse novel. Maybe writing poetry, and writing about writing poetry will be good for the creative prose muse.
Back to the anthology of my son’s, my son chose a Paul Simon classic song, ‘I am a Rock’ to promote. Just think, many songs are now heading into the regions of 50 years plus, and we are beginning to see song writing classics worthy of study in schools and several forgettable songs bite the dust! My Mum used to make me play my guitar at the nursing home she worked at. It was a disaster as they all wanted ancient songs, well like ‘Pack up your worries in an old Kit bag’, which I just didn’t know, not then anyway.
What songs do they play in nursing homes now today? Is it Paul Simon? I feel this might be worthy of investigation. I know it’s what I’d want to listen to.
And here we meet my other great love, song writing. Here my guitar, or a piano come with me as a I write and a melody is either the beginning point, or fitted over the words which are reworked.
Something about song writing is less lonely than poetry, and that guitar often becomes a subject of poetry. It is a trusty friend. Mind you in our house guitars are multiplying. The boys have moved onto Electrics but still have their steel strings, and I still have the Yamaha guitar my Uncle gave me when I was just fourteen.
As for the money makers in poetry – how many best selling poets are there out there? And perhaps all of them tend to be in the music industry – and from the fields of folk and Country and Western. I think this is a huge topic to think about, but I can only think of Pam Ayres, who went on tour to read her poems – there must be more????
New Message to Self: a poem a day will be my welcome warm up to the rest of the day and then I will move onto writing in other forms.