Today when I was going over my final draft of my portfolio it made me realize that a lot of the poems that I expected to write for the class felt in a way completed. I’ve never really had this sense in poetry before. Prior to this semester, I was always unsure of my work and whenever it was time to edit my work I always felt like I was grasping at straws and just hoping that it overall made sense. This was coming from a place where I wasn’t sure exactly what poetry was, or how certain people are so comfortable writing it. I think that a lot of my prior work was based off of emotions which I had tried to turn into concepts or themes. While this wasn’t necessarily bad I felt this pressure to create something rather than unveil it and that what I had to say wasn’t “poetic enough”. While I don’t think I will ever have a clear answer as to what poetry is, I think that I have grown as a poet by embracing what poetry means to me. Right now I think I use poetry as discovery or unveiling about thoughts and patterns in my life that I hadn’t realized needed to be unearthed. There is something I find much more natural about this process, even if the tone of the poems isn’t necessarily cheerful ones. I believe that something resonated with me last year when T. C. Tolbert spoke to us and said that sometimes they would have to go off and write and deal with being in a less than positive mood in the process. I think in this way their poetry was not necessarily coping but visiting their pasts. While I connect to what Tolbert said about these emotions, I don’t think my reactions to spending time to write aren’t nearly as draining and I think that in part its because my process is questioning and reviewing my thoughts so that I write what comes to mind even if I am not completely sure how what I’m writing resonates with me. Often in a workshop, someone will make a comment about the tone or content and it will make me pause for a moment and think, is that what I meant by that? That being said, I think with the content I write now, I’ve become surer because I am more at home (no pun intended!) with what my poetry’s about. Before this semester started I remember being nervous about my second poetry workshop, and I felt that I had nothing left to write about and I had no real thing to say. Now that this semester is over, I feel as though I have scratched the surface of what I can write about as a poet and am hopeful that I continue exploring where my poetry goes in the future.
I would love to know how everyone else felt about this semester of writing. Please feel free to share!