Writers leave themselves on the page, regardless of what they’re writing. Call it an occupational hazard or a natural part of the creative process, weaving the reality with fiction into a tapestry that is both believable and tangible for the reader. So, could there really be a most personal form of writing?
The Most Personal Form of Writing is …
I propose to you that poetry is the most personal form of writing.
Before you click away and wonder how on earth I came to that batty conclusion, read me out. I suppose if you’ve never read or written poetry this won’t make much sense. If that describes you, click away and go in search of a poetry book or click around online for a few poems you can read for free. Mix it up—find some classics and some newer samples. Keep your mind open and consider what I just told you about poetry. Once you’ve done that, come on back and keep reading.
Are You Sure It’s Not …
Welcome back—or you rock, if you’re well-versed in poetry and you stuck with me through that! So—most personal form of writing—you probably thought journaling, right? I would. And that’s probably true. However, unless you’re Anne Frank, your diary likely will never have many readers. I’m focusing on words that will reach an audience.
You may say, “Ahem, Joy, what about memoir or auto-biography?” Well, sure. You’ve got a point there. However—and answer honestly—do you think these books are 100% accurate? Do you think they’re really airing all the dirty laundry, so to speak, or delving to the heart of the whys behind the what happeneds? Let me answer that for you; they don’t. I love reading these kinds of books, and many are quite raw and deep; however, I would stake a pretty large bet on the fact that there are missing pieces in these books or that they don’t go all the way to the soul of a person’s life.
Fine. Tell Me More …
So, how is poetry the most personal form of writing?
Poetry bares a writer’s soul.
The best poetry oozes all the emotions of the human condition onto the page—rage, guilt, sorrow, passion, love, uncertainty, desire. Poetry does this in an unfettered manner. Because poems often form through metaphor, the writer feels more free to be entirely honest and reveal their truths all the way to the marrow.
Now, if you’re a writer who has at least dabbled in poetry, answer me honestly: how personal and deep are the poems you’ve produced?
I can tell you that I only write poetry out of a heightened emotional state and I write about myself in ways I never would in prose. To this point I haven’t shared much poetry for that reason.
On my most emotional, gut-wrenching days I’ve sat down to write and poetry is what flowed out of me. Once my pen stopped moving, I’d left it all on the page and I felt my burden lifted. This is what poetry does for me.
And, Poets Are …
Because I view poetry as the most personal form of writing, I think poets are the very bravest of writers. I can’t wait to introduce you to one of them next week in a special interview right here. Mea Smith is one of my bestest friends. We were roommates in college; we’re still friends; and we’re writing critique partners! I’ve had the privilege of reading her amazing poetry chapbook—and, she’s going to unveil her title to you next week! Her poetry is real and fresh and emotionally charged. Mea will tell us more about it next week and talk about grief in writing and writing through the grieving process. She’s taught me so much, and I’m blessed to be on this writing journey with her. Seriously, I hope you all have a “Mea” in your life; she’s the greatest!
You’re Rambling About Poetry Because …
April is National Poetry Month!! That’s right! If you didn’t already know, you do now. Click that link for a website FULL of suggestions for how to celebrate this literary celebration brought to us by the Academy of American Poets. Also, stay tuned for a month full of poetry posts. Next week, hear from poet Mea Smith. The following week I’ll be coming at you with some thoughts on how to get your kids interested in poetry. And, the fourth week in April will be a SURPRISE!
Now, I need you to start pulling out your poetry collections or checking some out from your local library because Thursday, April 26 is Poem in Your Pocket Day 2018. On this day, I challenge you to choose your favorite poem, print out a copy, fold it up and tuck it safely away in your pocket for the day to share with others! Check out that link for more fun ideas. I have one more request for you: you have to let me know which poem you choose!! I’ll tell you mine, if you tell me yours! For added fun, snap a poem selfie! I’ll have a special post on my Facebook page or you can post it to one of my poetry posts here! And, join in with others on social media with #pocketpoem! Let’s celebrate the power that is poetry all month long, friends!
Let me hear from you:
Do you like poetry? Give me your why! Who is your favorite poet or what is your favorite poem?
Do you write poetry? If so, have you shared it with others? Do you agree with my declaration that poetry is the most personal form of writing?
Hi Joy, very interesting post! I’ve never looked at poetry this way! Good point! I think memoir can be just as revealing, as long as one remembers that it is just a small slice of the whole of someone’s life. I think of a biography as usually more factual and systematically going through the major events in someone’s life, where memoir is getting a personal slant perspective on one or a few small snippets. Memoirs usually have a lot more specifics that can become universal themes in a sense. I popped over to your friend’s blog, but I couldn’t find any poetry to read? I’d love to check it out.
I’m so glad you checked out her site! Mea’s so awesome! She hasn’t posted a lot of her poetry on her site yet, but here’s one little glimpse: https://measmith.com/2017/03/21/a-poem-for-world-poetry-day/!
I loved that poem on Mea’s site, Joy. So wonderful!
I agree!! 😉
Oh and I have MANY favorite poets, but my favorite currently is Abigail Carroll. You can read some on her website http://abigail-carroll.com/ 😀
Thank you for sharing her site, Amy!! First, her site is gorgeous. Second, I enjoyed each poem I read. And, third, how cool is the book of letters she wrote to St. Francis?!?!