5 Things a Poet Doesn’t Tell You

A poet doesn't tell all

Poets don’t ink everything. Photo Source: Hilary Dotson, CC BY-ND 4.0, via Flickr

What, you mean that a poet might be hiding details from you, the dear reader? Perhaps. Grins. Here are five of the things a poet doesn’t tell you – until now!

Poets and Visions, or Lack of

It’s not always the case that the poet has a vision of what to write about when picking up a pen or putting fingers to keyboard. Instead, some writers go with the flow and get swept up within the moment as one line leads to the next one. This smooth flow often leads to beautiful poems because of its fairly effortless creation.

On Poetry Being ‘Dead’

Despite the familiar cries of readers that “poetry is a dying art form,” poets remain calm. A passionate poet knows that this style of writing remains alive in his or her heart. Even if there were no more buyers of poetry books and interest vanished for the genre, it wouldn’t stop a true writer from continuing to craft odes, sonnets and more. The interest remains in the heart of the creator.

Writing Poetry is Not a Choice

To write or not to write; that is NOT a question that a poet asks himself or herself. It’s not a decision to contribute to the written genre, at least not for the impassioned poet. Instead, the written creations are something the author feels compelled to do, just as musicians may feel playing music is a part of what defines them.

Poet, Quote, Aha

A meaningful quote. Photo Source: Christy Birmingham, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Flickr

Know it All? Nah

It’s not about being an expert in all of the forms of poetry. It’s more about understanding the range of types, from blank verse to rondeau, and attempting experiments with them to see which ones are the best fit for the topic at hand. Poets are rarely so egotistical that they would say they are confident in all of forms of the genre.

Liking the Commentary

Even if you never hear a peep back from a writer after you left a comment on his or her epic poem, there is a good chance the poet still appreciated what you wrote. Personally, I enjoy getting feedback as it helps me grow in my writing skills and gives me the opportunity to explain anything readers might not understand about certain parts of a poem. Also, I like reading how people analyze the poems, even when the analysis does not align with my intention.

These are five of the things a poet doesn’t tell you. What are some more ideas to add to the list?

 

©2014 Christy Birmingham

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89 thoughts on “5 Things a Poet Doesn’t Tell You

  1. Billybuc

    Beautifully stated, Christy! As Janine stated, it is similar in all writing forms. Writing is not a choice. It is a passion, and a statement of who we are as human beings. We are the voices of our generation, and long after we are gone, our voices will live on…and isn’t that a cool thought? I love your work my friend.

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  2. rollyachabotbooks

    I so appreciate Christy that you take the time to craft your poems with a heart of passion. Your words can comfort, heal and calm the troubled soul, at the same time take the reader to places we never see or think about. You have a gift and the greatest being you engage the reader and we so love the comments you leave for us… Thank you.

    Hugs from Alberta

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Wow Rolly, what beautiful compliments you left me here. Thank you. I do write from the heart, just as my words in person come from the same place. I do not believe in fakeness and won’t be a part of it. That you can tell that from my poetry is wonderful to hear. Thanks and hugs back!

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  3. Aquileana

    Christy!!!,
    Great post… I nod in agreement with you, particularly with points #1 and #3…
    You reminded me of Plato’s dialogue “Ion” in which Socrates held that the poet, is inspired by the God, being his poems the result of the inspiration of the Muse…
    Thanks for sharing, best wishes, Aquileana 😀

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Aqui,
      Eeek my first reply didn’t show up here! Oh those Diet Cokes got in the way, maybe? Seriously though, truly odd…
      I am honored that you even included me in the same comment as Plato and Socrates, and further happy that you were reminded of them by my post here!
      I like sharing more about poetry with people so they are not as overwhelmed by it – and I love the way you find meanings in all I write as you truly understand me!
      I wish you a wonderful rest of your Wednesday, BGP 😀
      xo HUGS

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  4. syl65

    You are right on point Christy! There are things a poet doesn’t tell….I think I fall into the go with the flow type of poet, no matter the subject matter. Every style is to be appreciated and like a musician will hear notes in his/her head a poet will hear words in his/her heart and will have that want to express it. Great post Christy! 🙂

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  5. Stuff Jeff Reads

    Great post, Christy. As a musician and poet, I agreed that it’s all about the act of creating. I was having lunch with a photographer friend a few years back and we were discussing his visual art and my music. He told me that as a visual artist, he captures energy, but that he envied the fact that as a musician I actually create energy. I think poets create energy too.

    Hope you have a blessed and creative day!!

    Jeff

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Great share here, Jeff! I think that you’re right on target with the idea of ‘energies.’ It’s about taking what our senses inhale and exhaling it in our genre of choice (poetry, photography, music, dance…). Let’s keep creating, shall we?!

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  6. talker blogger

    Dear Christy! This is such a wonderful insight … I used to write poetry growing up and I followed my heart, I write what flows from the feelings. And yes , it is such a lovely and a captivating field but sadly the audience has shifted interest or there are just a few left to follow the old art of pen and paper and words …

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Yes poetry is sadly sitting there wanting more attention! I hope it sees a regrowth soon. That’s great that you wrote poetry when you were younger and I’m glad you are still reading it! Sending you a smile for your day 🙂

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  7. macjam47

    I enjoyed your post. Liking the Commentary stuck home with me. As a reader of poetry, I am always fearful that I will take away something entirely different than what was intended.
    You write so beautifully, it is always a joy for me to read your work.

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Hi Michelle, thanks for your honest comment. I am sure you’re not alone in fearing that you will think of the poem differently than it was intended by the writer. But I personally find it really interesting to hear what readers think and there is NOT a wrong way to interpret it in my opinion 🙂

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  8. RawMultimedia

    i cosign the last part…I don’t think anyone really hear the words how I wrote them…it’s weird, they see a whole completely different aspect, I be like, where the fudge are you going with your thinking, it meant this and that, not what the heck you just said, then i calm down and find a corner to sit down and BAM a new poem about the past situation is created and I question myself if I should share or just shut up… lol 🙂

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Hehe I can just see you pouting that people haven’t understood your point and then using those emotions to craft a new project! I’m glad you continue to create as you have such original products you produce 🙂

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  9. Rajagopal

    Hi christy , shall I say your post conveys what is oft thought but rarely so well expressed ? well , there is one more thing no poet will tell you , or cannot define precisely , which is the boundless joy that is part of any creation , in this case , versification and imaging of one’s deepest emotions bearing on the seed point…

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Ah Raj, what a great point you added to the list! That feeling of creation is unlike anything else and I know immediately what you are referring to. It’s difficult to put into words (ironic) but is an amazing, almost transformative feeling. Thanks for adding that!

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  10. Mike

    Inspired insight Christy. I can add that while books and written collections may not be as popular as they once were, spoken word and video recorded poetry seems to have taken off spectacularly (see YouTube etc.) so arguably the form is just undergoing generational or technological change and has the potential to reach larger audiences than ever before.
    I also read a lot of poetry and notice that some poets seem to think it is a requirement to write obscurely. This condescendence is one of the reasons that people find poetry ‘difficult’ to read.

    A fine article well writ and thank you.

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Hi Mike, You are quite right that spoken word poetry is getting popular. As well, have you noticed that micropoetry on Twitter and other social media platforms are really catching on? I suppose that new styles and formats will continue to rise for poetry as the technology trends come and go – but that poems will always be alive and well is my hope!

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  11. Maria F.

    They are overly sensitive and need tragedy. They may not actively look for it, but it’s there. This is their nourishment. Although some poetry may reflect positivism and be full of embellished words, deep inside there’s dilemma up to the point of anguish; hence their release through the art of words.

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      1. Maria F.

        It’s actually very difficult to accept, and even more so, to reveal that you nourish yourself from the chaos and absurdities of life; yet this is precisely why you need to protect your creativity. I get tired of carrying the burden of so many sensibilities, to then become the “release” for others…Even when it’s done with joy, it is a form of martyrdom because you’re noticing what others don’t. That is the sacrifice of the artist…
        (I know this sounds negative but it’s a comment I felt I had to make).

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  12. sarahpotterwrites

    I used to waffle in my poems, until I discovered haiku and tanka. It was such a relief to rid myself of all those adjectives and adverbs. This minimalism has spilled over into my prose writing to its betterment.

    Thus, the point I’d add to your list is that some of the most lyrical writers are also poets (whatever their style of poetry), as they’ve mastered the art of saying a great deal in a few words and they are so, so good with imagery.

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Ah yes, you are quite right that we are minimalists in the writing style. I found that when I tried my hand at fiction after a long time away from it that I needed to force myself to flesh out the details as I was used to only a few words with poetry writing! Great point you added here, Sarah.

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  13. Jeri Walker-Bickett (@JeriWB)

    As a sometime poet, this post makes me want to write more poetry, but they only come along every so often to me. It always cracks me up when people say poetry is dead or books or dead. Just the other day, I caught a magazine cover that declared college is dead… Nope. Poetry is alive and well and in so many ways, especially when one counts song lyrics.

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  14. simon7banks

    There is absolutely no evidence that poetry is a dying art form. Poetry books haven’t sold well for a long time (partly because one small book takes a long time to read in comparison to a thriller), but they’re still being produced and there’s loads of poetry online as well as plenty of poetry events, open mics and so on.

    I agree with all that, Christy. Now just my contribution – five things a poet doesn’t tell you:

    Their car registration number
    Their credit card number
    The dates of their holidays
    The name of their primary school
    Their salary at their present or last employer.

    However, I could be wrong. Some poet may have worked some of this into a poem.

    Simon

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Simon, why yes you are quite right that poetry books would take much time to read… and I love that I can reread them again and again 🙂

      Okay I see your point about what poets don’t tell you, including their private details — and I’ll add that they (we) also won’t tell you what times we do some of our writing at because there can be some crazy hours!!

      Thanks for such a great comment, Simon.

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  15. Dee

    Hi Christy! I found your thoughts on writing poetry interesting, especially the part about the best creative poetry comes from just writing thoughts. I am one who comments on poetry as it strikes my interest and probably not always what the artist intended. Guess it is like the phrase “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Dianna, you’re so right that it’s what the ‘beholder’ sees and I think it’s at least partly based on our life experiences. There’s so much beauty in the world and I love exploring it with poetry! Thanks for your comment xo

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  16. Swetank

    Hi Christy,

    I surely can call them the secrets of a wonderful poet. You really inspire me, so as your words and poems. Many of the factors that you mentioned, can be paired same as with the writers, like me. I truly agree on that comment part. Where the comments are like feedbacks to mold a good writer to a great writer.

    Overall an amazing reading my friend!! 🙂 Cheers!

    Be Bettr, Stay Bettr! 🙂
    Swetank.

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  17. Deborah

    What a fun post! I’m always fascinated by how poetry reaches deeper than the words themselves. The weaving of meaning that takes place. And how different people can be moved by the same poem in different ways. Sometimes I read something, and I can’t even put my reaction into words. In other words, poetry can be magical. 🙂

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  18. cav12

    I have to admit, I find it a challenge to write poetry. Not very skilled at composing lyrical lines. I will leave to talented poets such as you to the art form 😀

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  19. Sue Dreamwalker

    Christy I so related to this post as I am sure you are aware.. LOL.. Do you know I still never have got to grips with the terminology for the various types of poetry.. I just know my poems need to rhyme.. And your are so correct too.. Poets do not just pick up a pen and then ponder for hours wondering what to write.. We pick up the pen as we are inspired to create.. Often I have no idea as to what I will create.. but as each word is penned, so the next one comes and a sentence is born then another until a verse is formed. I also never know how many verses until it feels finished..
    I will often wake up in the middle of the night and feel the urge to write.. I don’t always know if it will be just to doodle down my thoughts or if a poem will come.. Its not until I see it forming before my eyes I know its a poem.. Each word comes in an instant and I never ponder upon the end of a sentence its as if its already been formed as the Rhyme comes perfectly every time..
    Going with the flow is exactly right…
    I am so pleased to have met so many wonderful poets here on WP.. And No poetry will never die not while so many are inspired by the workings of their hearts.. 🙂 Bless you Christy.. Loved this post.. 🙂

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    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Sue, I do that too where I get thoughts in the middle of the night for poems! It is a good thing as I love when inspiration comes but sometimes my body just wants to sleep, hehe 🙂 I am loving your comment here, your reflections and, most of all, your confidence. I enjoy your poems so much!! 🙂

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  20. marsar2

    Wonderful, inspiring plog post 🙂 <3.

    If one is a true writer, one simply has to go on writing, no matter what, that's the only truth. Trends don't mean a thing when you have the urge, get the thrill, feel the need to express yourself. And sometimes it's not even the act of articulating our thoughts through words that matters, but the path towards it.

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  21. vivachange77

    Great post! I especially like the Robert Frost quote. That’s pretty much my experience. After I began my blog in May writing poetry found me. I discovered that I could say more things with fewer words and feelings speak better in poetry. I write as an end in itself. I simply love words. I especially enjoy writing Haikus because it is like a jigsaw puzzle finding the words to express the two suggested words/thoughts and that also the exact number of syllables.

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