“It has been said that art is a tryst;
for in the joy of it, maker and beholder meet.”
Poetry is a very personal thing. It becomes a thing of beauty only in the eyes of the beholder. No two eyes see the same thing in the same way, and that is true for art as well. What I like might not touch your heart at all and I might be totally indifferent to what makes your heart sing.
So, what is good poetry?
Now, here is the catch. Most people, when asked to name their favourite artist, poet, writer, will always spout the names that sound like the latest edition of “who is who”. Are we scared to show our own choices to the world? Do we even have our own choices? Why do we assume that the writings that have been labelled as “classics” are the only ones we should quote? Does a poet become admirable a hundred years after he passed away? Does not publishing your poem in paperback by a big publishing house make it unworthy?
While reviewing a poetry book by Mark Kloss, I read this on his website that got me thinking.
Why when a book is made up of our favourite poems are the majority made up from ages past? Why when asked to remember your favourite poem do you mostly think of an earlier classic?
Since then, I have been wanting to put these question to the world to answer. I want to ask you what, in your opinion, makes a poem worthy of your love and attention. I want to know if there’s a criterion that a poem must pass to be able to touch your heart.
Love classics, by all means. They are great works of art that have been a source of joy for millions over the years. But give all art its due, be it poetry, painting, stories, photography, or any other form of creative expression. judge a poem by how it makes you feel, not by the name inscribed at the bottom.
For me, the greatest impact on my life and poetry has been by some of the poets I have read online. I love Maya Angelou and William Wordsworth and Pablo Neruda, but I love Ink Stitution, Joe Barca, Fiery, Erin Hanson and Darren Wilson more. My favourite stories come from Robin Cook and Scott Wood. I accept that I would prefer to read Owain Glyn’s book more than Lord Byron’s because that is more my cup of tea. This list is not exhaustive, neither is this a shout-out post. I am not naming my friends. In fact, most of the ones I have named don’t read my blog and will never know about it, and that’s how I want it. Consider it more like-
“Did you listen to the latest song by LP? It is fabulous!”
“No, but I will today. Thanks for letting me know.”
So tell me who your favourite poets and writers are. Name the well known, or the unknown, or mix up the two, but be honest about it. Or talk about your favourite poem. Let us honour the words that have touched our hearts, no holds barred!
To all my favourite poets online
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.