I’ve recently found myself in a few conversations about happiness and poetry. More specifically about whether I plan to write poetry about happier things.
Coincidentally, just before that, I’d been thinking about why I write poetry. It all began with the thought about how I wrote a blog post about claiming titles. Calling yourself an author instead of a writer, or even worse an aspiring writer, and how that can cripple your confidence. And here, I won’t call myself a poet, even though I’ll soon have more pieces of poetry than any other type of writing. And I’m certain I’ve published more poetry on this site than anything else. (Although, if we’re strictly speaking word count, I have written more horror than anything else, but they’re longer works that are not yet finished.)
This line of thought led me to wonder why I write poetry. There are many reasons. I love the imagery that can be created, and the emotion that can be conveyed in a short space. More than that, I have found that it is a way for me to work through things. Usually grief and sometimes fear.
I began contemplating why I don’t write about happier things. So when I ended up in conversations about that very thing, I already had an answer. I’m not distressed about being happy, so there’s nothing to work through. Sometimes I try to end my poems with a bit of hope, with the idea that maybe it will push me in the direction of a place in my life where grief is replaced with happy memories. I sometimes hope that if I get all my grief out on paper, one day, I’ll sit to write a poem and find that the grief is all out of my system. Maybe then I’ll write poems about happier things.
I have less control over my poetry than I have over other forms of writing. I haven’t been able to force a poem out. When a poem comes to me, it comes urgently and it comes quickly.
Perhaps one day, my intent will not be to recover from what’s happened, but to preserve my memories, and I think that will be the time when I write happier poems.
What are the reasons you write poetry or whatever genre that you write? Do you find certain limitations to how and what you write in different genres?