Thursday, August 04, 2005


At some point we're going to have to do a poetry exercise. I wonder how popular that will be?

Before starting this group most of what I wrote was poetry. Well, haiku mainly, and tanka, renku and haibun and lately some (for lack of a better word) 'normal' poetry. So it's my comfort zone, but I suspect most people are more comfortable with prose. They do say that most people try their hand at poetry at some time but most of them have the decency to keep it to themselves.

What is it, I wonder, that gives poetry, even more than most writing, associations of being a slightly shameful activity, best done in private? Are we afraid that it will be too personal - but isn't all good writing? Are we afraid that, even if we enjoy it, we're just not doing it right? But who makes the rules?

Music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance... poetry begins to atrophy when it gets too far from music.
- Ezra Pound


Anonymous said...

There is something in the 'too personal' bit regarding poetry and it's often much less hidden (or hideable) than it might be in fiction, but I suspect that those who know anything at all know that there is so much really *awful* poetry that they're concerned about adding to the morass. Those who don't write for parish magazines.

To be fair, though, it's often very hard to judge whether something you've written is any good. Poetry trebly so.

Alison Williams said...

Fair points, but poetry doesn't have to be deeply embarassingly personal.

[Comment on awful poetry cut - it turned into a blogworthy rant that I will post later.]

If it's hard to judge how good or bad your own poetry is, is that not an argument for workshopping it?