By Randall Taylor
Poetry, a popular form of writing in the past decades, has gradually fallen from its pedestal as the epitome of creative writing. It seems as though the majority of the world today no longer values poetry in modern times. If it isn’t a devaluing in poetry by the audience, it’s a complete lack of effort in the writing completely by the author, but the writers are the ones who I need to speak on the most.
As much as it pains me to say it, poetry has lost its creativity over the years among the young student poets of my age; whether that creativity be in finding their voice or addressing certain topics that the world today just refuses to acknowledge.
In my opinion, being a poet and writing poetry in general are two very different concepts. Poetry, like many other forms of creative writing, is art. What do you do in art; you sketch, draw and paint pictures, however, you don’t draw or paint simply for the sake of doing it. You don’t even do it just to send a message. You do it to get your voice out to the world, and I don’t feel poetry has that same meaning to poets my age anymore.
Everyone has a voice but I think that a common cliché in poetry has become that of people either trying to get too deep or they just throw a bunch of words together that have no real meaning to what they’re trying to convey.
For example, I read some poetry on ThePoetryProject.org, a website I had originally hoped to submit my own work to, and these are a few lines from one submission called, I Show My Emotions:
“And then I run through a residential area.
And then I stand in the bus shelter of the light rail station.
And then I stand in a gas station parking lot.
And then I go to the hospital but I am released as a non-threat. And then I go home.”
This was only one of the many poems I had an issue with in my reading mainly because of its vagueness, given the writer titled it as such. This was a common issue I had with the other works I’ve read. They were either excessively long, like a short story, or they were a bit too heavy on imagery that never related to their title.
Maybe I’m picky but I think sometimes we miss the point about poetry. Maybe you can see certain aspects of the world differently like love, nature, books, issues in the world…the possibilities are endless. It can be both short and simple, or long and intricate. But in my opinion it should always be painting a vivid picture or story in a reader’s mind, and relate to the title should you choose one.
Poetry is the written form of painting; the canvas is the notebook and your voice is the paintbrush. It’s a written artistry and it’s not treated as such these days. I’ve seen many young poets try to be real deep and poetic but steal quotes from artists or pictures off of social media. I get it. Rappers like Tupac (an esteemed poet himself) and Biggie are great and have amazing quotes just as modern artists like J.Cole, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar—but be original.
Another issue I have with how poetry is viewed today is the topics. Some topics for poetry today are regarded as taboo. For instance, what is so wrong about sexual poetry? I think it’s deep and intimate.
I think as a society we’re afraid to explore those forbidden feelings and thoughts within ourselves to the point that we reject them in favor of what society deems as appropriate. If one were to write a poem about his girlfriend or wife and what he loves and finds attractive about her, then he has every right to be as forthcoming with his love for those qualities about her, whether it’s her mind or her body. I just think that we should embrace our inner thoughts and feelings when it comes to writing poetry regardless of what anyone deems as appropriate.
Overall, I’m passionate about these issues because I feel that there is an ongoing lack of appreciation for art these days, especially poetry. It’s like the world as a whole is losing its creativity and we’re gradually becoming more and more robotic. We’re human. It’s not wrong to express yourself or what you feel. It’s nobody’s life but your own and that’s what poetry exhibits.
Poetry doesn’t always have to be deep and profound or fancy. It can be simple and relatable. Paint whatever you want; write whatever you think. Do whatever your heart desires but be creative, and be yourself because you never know when your masterpiece could be an inspiration. It could eventually become someone’s sunshine in this world of grey.