Poetry Sucks, Beats, and Twists

As I’ve mentioned before, the time when I wasn’t noveling was one of the most depressing, despairing times I’ve ever gone through.

The good news is that the experience led to one of the most uplifting, life-changing conclusions I’ve ever reached:

If I want to feel content, if I want to be able to function like a human being, then I have to be writing stories.

I have to be writing novels.

It’s what I was created to do — and if I’m not doing it, I start falling apart.


Poetry Is Like a Vacuum Cleaner

There is another side to this story. Over the last year, I’ve realized that the more I immerse myself in my novels, the more my poetry sucks.

When I was 12, I pulled a book off my mom’s shelf: How Does A Poem Mean? by John Ciardi. In his book, he talks some of the hows of turning emotion and experience into words. I didn’t understand all of it, but what I did understand made me sit down and start poetizing. I haven’t stopped since.

Poetry Is Like a Heartbeat

In an address at Brigham Young University in 1963, Ciardi also spoke these lines of pure beauty:

Poetry is not inherently moral or immoral. It is like a heartbeat. There is no moral or immoral heartbeat.


Poetry Is Like a Car Engine

My very best poetry has come out of my darkest days. When I’m at my most miserable, my poetry is at its most touching and most resonant.

So, in a way, it’s a trade-off: When I’m noveling, I feel good. When I feel good, I can’t write a lot of poetry. The stories and the poems come from two different places. Or maybe it’s the same place, but the Muse chooses different tools to hand me.

I tinker. I twist. I turn and twirl with my tools, and sometimes I even tintinnabulate. Sometimes, after my twistinnabulation (howzat for poetic?), things start running smoothly. By which I mean they’re gritty and fundamental and from-the-heart bloody.

That’s when my poetry is beautiful.

Do you write poetry?

Do you want to write poetry, but you think you can’t?

Oh honey, please tell me you didn’t listen to someone who told you that you can’t. If that’s the case, we need to talk.

Writers of various genri*: Do you novel better than you poetize? Poetize better than you journal? Journal better than you prosate?

What makes the difference? Interest level? Emotional state? Mental condition?

The comments are yours, sweetlings. Let’s conversate. ; )

*One genre, two genri, I always say.