All Poems are Love Poems (???)

In class recently, we touched very briefly on the idea that poems don’t have to be about romantic love–a stance that I wholeheartedly agree with. After browsing some definitions of love, I’ve come to one basic conclusion about love: it’s indefinable. In order to create definitions for the word “love,” it is first important to recognize that there is no clear and concise definition that can be easily agreed upon by the masses. The origins of the English word “love” can be traced through various levels of Germanic and Proto-Indo-European languages. Throughout all of the influences and changes this word has undergone, there is a consistency in themes like affection, passion, and concern. However, as we have all figured out by now, love is not related only to feelings of happy tenderness. Love is closely related to fear, envy, jealousy, and (yes) even hate. Emotional mapping can help us visualize how our emotions connect, and how they intersect. There are basic emotions, like primary colors, that produce secondary and tertiary emotions that blur lines between what we would normally consider to be entirely separate experiences in practice. So, what does this have to do with poems? In my personal (and somewhat under-qualified) opinion, these intersections of emotion are the places where our best poems create themselves. While not all poems are related directly to romantic love, they all spawn from some sort of passion or dedication to our content, style, and belief in ourselves as poets. Essentially, all poems contain some derivative of love–the fear of losing it, the things that scare us, our obsessions, and so on. Are all poems love poems? Probably. Poems are reflections of life, and life, in essence, revolves around love (or lack thereof) in all its forms.

One Reply to “All Poems are Love Poems (???)”

  1. Interesting post, Savannah. I think about this often, because it seems like most of the poems I’ve read have to do with love of some kind, yet the ones I write never do–or do they? I tend to shy away from love in my poetry, not to be contrarian, but because it’s been done so many times, and done so well. But I’m glad you brought up how love is inseparable from other feelings of passion, and that passion drives our poetry. Perhaps all my poems actually are love poems, just not directed at a particular person, or expressed in an overtly romantic way.

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