The influence behind your poems

I noticed a lot of people speaking about fictional poetry and how to create the characters within the poem by thinking about their history or likes/dislikes, etc. I was surprised that so many people in poetry used fiction as inspiration for their poems because I (mistakenly) thought that everyone wrote poetry based off of real life events. I guess it comes down to the genres we’re most comfortable in. For example: I love to write poetry, but if I wasn’t a poet, I would be a creative nonfiction writer. For some people, that differs, there are poets with a fiction preference, and some are just poets with all kinds of preferences. But it has been very interesting to learn about the purpose and goal behind everyone’s poetry. Each poet in this class aims to communicate something different, and I think that whatever the poets communicate says a lot about how they wish to maybe impact the world someday, or what they wish to explore more deeply.

For me, poetry has always been a way of transcribing every day life. I look at life like a book and everyone in my life including myself are just characters within that book. My philosophy professor was talking in class today about how he sometimes wondered if he was in a movie, and how sometimes he felt like he really was because there are moments in life that seem so scripted that it would be impossible for them not to be from a movie. He said “Real life just looks like fiction sometimes,” and it does. That’s why I take my inspiration from it everyday. My goal is to document in writing the moments that seem scripted, and I don’t really need to think about the details or the characters and their histories because they’re all right in front of me.

However, I think it’s really cool that some people make up these characters and these histories in their heads. My brain is much too lazy to think about unreal characters on such a deep level. I always wished that I could write fiction as well as other people, but it just doesn’t work for me, and it wouldn’t accomplish my goal with writing. What are your goals? Do you want to teach the world something new, explore your imagination,  salvage the beautiful moments in your everyday life for a time when they won’t exist any longer, or is your goal only to explore yourself and your emotions? I wonder, do these goals become muddled when we write poetry, and are we, in a way, aiming to accomplish a little bit of all of them.



2 Replies to “The influence behind your poems”

  1. Writing goals are such a strange thing. Personally, my writing goals are always different. Sometimes it’s writing just to write, while sometimes it’s to convey a feeling, or a thought. Lately, when I sit down to write something, it’s been to clear my head of clutter, or just to feel productive. In a general term, I’d say my goals are to get across some form of beauty or a different point of view, but my writing has been shifting away from that recently. (Fictional) narrative poetry falls into a really interesting grey area which can be a cool exercise. It lets you access something you don’t necessarily have access to. It’s both an exploration of self and other, since poetry is fundamentally introspective, even if it is just finding the right words to express yourself. I’d say that my life certainly influences my poems. Experiences influence your headspace, and that will definitely affect your writing, whether it be subject choice or how you approach a poem or tone.

    You said earlier in class you realized that as we age, our poetry and writing changes, too. I think that’s an important thing to keep in mind when discussing “writing goals.” This time last year I swore I was never going to take a poetry class because, quite frankly, poetry scared me and still does. But part of writing is adventure, I guess. We all want to say something new, so how and what we say will change over time.

  2. Personally, my poetry takes on a dreamy quality because I like to create a world I want to live in. Sometimes, those worlds aren’t perfect or fairytale, but they have the ability to become the backdrop for a wild adventure. Sometimes, when my poems recount everyday happenings, I feel like my thoughts have already been expressed, simply because I feel my life is so mundane. I wish I could find inspiration in the everyday, and sometimes I do, but it always seems to be harder to grasp and turn into something worth reading. I hope that makes sense!

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