Emotional Frustration in Poetry

Sometimes, writing poetry frustrates me. I’ve mentioned (and probably made it clear in workshop at this point) that sound is oftentimes more important to me than actual content. I’ve always found that music expresses more emotion than words on a page ever can for me, and so I want to express myself in that way (musically) too. Problem is, even though I sing, I don’t play any instruments. Today I was reflecting on this, and considering writing some a cappella solo stuff and recording it, as a small start. My boyfriend and I sometimes talk about writing music together (he plays guitar, among other things) but it’s difficult to do because we’re long distance. We could be the next¬†Postal Service¬†but it’s much harder than it sounds. Besides, as much as I would like to, I don’t have time to be in a band. And I’ve never written music before.

When I’m staring at a blank page, I just want to bleed the sound in my headphones onto it until it forms the lines of the letters that would be right to make someone’s heart detach the way mine did. To open my emotions, figure out their pattern, and translate it to language. That’s a daunting task, and no science or technology can do it. It’s up to me. And sometimes I honestly just want to punch a hole in the wall because I can’t figure it out. Emotions are important to me, but I can’t seem to convey them through the cold monochromatic letters on a page.

I enjoy other ways of expressing myself besides music. I’ve danced since childhood, and I enjoy visual art a lot (though I know little about it, and am not good at it). I desire to use movement, lines, and color to express myself rather than simply the words on a page. I’m starting to think through ways that I could use multiple forms of media to express emotion rather than just poetry by itself. I want to branch out as I create rather than stick to one thing at a time. I think that different forms of art compliment and inform one another.

I apologize for the angsty nature of this post and I want to open it up for discussion: Do any of you feel a similar emotional frustration when writing poetry? What other modes do you prefer to express emotion? Have you created any multimedia works, or collaborations?

One Reply to “Emotional Frustration in Poetry”

  1. I feel your emotional frustration, especially regarding how to express what you feel in words when music expresses it best. I also sing, and I believe that a cappella music is one of the most emotionally and physically vulnerable art forms (certain dance forms top it, though). I auditioned for all of the a cappella groups here TWICE, but they didn’t want me (TBH I think my expression of deep love for the art form and the community around it made them all uncomfortable. #theirloss tho). How on earth can you put the sound of a whole damn chorus of “ahhhhhs” or a flawless vocal run into three words?

    That’s where that one brilliant thing my crazy ex roommate said to me comes back: “it just speaks to me.” So, make sounds speak to us. Fuck “content,” because content is apparently just what we can intellectually attain from a written work. Make us read sounds out loud that subsequently make us feel something. That shit is working on a chemical level.

    Also, a link to my favorite a cappella group, with one of my favorite soloists in the goddamn world (feat. my shaky camera work): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgG6sDExa0k

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