Confused? So am I. Actually, I think I have been living in a confused state since I turned twenty, with slight moments of enlightenment/clarification. Hopefully it’s a phase.
Poetry is an art. You see something, you write about it and then you edit profusely until it communicates what you want it to or just something that’s hopefully relative to what inspired you to write the poem. Some would say that the artistic part of this is the finalized product. After blood, sweat and tears, you finally know that your poem is finished, that it’s saying what you mean it to and that people will be moved by your words. That is the art. The act of moving others, of inspiring and of mastering.
Others would say that the art in anything is the act of creation. In poetry, this would be the blood, sweat and tears, second guessing, constant re-writing, seeking advice, days, months of obsession over a small word which may or may not be useful.
And then there is the question of, is the art both of these things? Is the art in poetry made whole by the product and the process? And then is an unedited poem incomplete? Or a poem which does not move or inspire anything?
I ask these questions because as I thought about what I wanted to do or what I seemed to be lacking in my poems, I realized that what I wanted to mess around with was fancier word usage. I want to have adjectives which are more focused and exclusive not because I think these words are important or because I think that my point will be communicated any more effectively than it would be with simpler language but because it looks pretty and sounds pretty. That is the root of my desire. If we’re being honest, it’s shallow. Would it make me less of a poet if I did this? Where do we draw the line in art? Do we, should we?
If a poem dedicates itself to nothing but the use of pretty words, if it has no meaning, no moral, no intent to inspire or to tell a story, is it still a poem? Moreover, if I put together a poem without wanting to inspire and without editing, is it still art?
Can a poem be void of purpose?
Just some things that have been on my mind.