Happy Poems Just Don’t Happen

I have never written a happy poem. I am sure that I am not the only one who struggles with writing something happy, but I simply cannot bring myself to writing about something that makes me happy. Sometimes, I’ll start to brainstorm, and then get a few lines out, but I immediately decide that I hate it, so I move on. I also chose a poetry book that is about grief for the book review. Actually, I’m kind of expecting there to be at least one poem that is perhaps about happiness, because as someone who has experienced grief, it definitely is not just “sad.” I suppose that could be an interesting thing to write about, the happiness experienced during grief, but I feel like it’s not the “happy” that I’m looking for. It’s sad happy. I need just happy happy, does that make sense? Whether it’s about romantic love, or familial love, or a kid on their birthday, or maybe being able to get your favorite meal that you haven’t had in a while–I don’t know, anything without something sad tagged onto it.

Has anyone written a “happy” poem? I’m really stuck on the process. Where I typically start when I’m writing poetry is to create a certain atmosphere using imagery, and then go on from there. I suppose I also haven’t read a lot of uplifting poetry, or at least none that I liked or didn’t find cringy. If anyone has a suggestion, or perhaps a good poet who writes about uplifting, “happy” things, please let me know.

2 Replies to “Happy Poems Just Don’t Happen”

  1. I have struggled with this so much! I used to think that there just isn’t happy poetry. I’m not sure what it was that snapped or changed, but recently I’ve tried writing more upbeat poems. The poem I used for the very first workshop was supposed to be more happy than it was melancholy. I think a lot of artists struggle with this. In fact, one of my new favorite bands has a song about this concept called “Just Exist.” It’s by Eliza and the Delusionals, and you have to promise me that you will listen to it! It’s so good, but it’s also really insightful about this issue.

    A question I have for you is, do you believe in neutral poetry? Poetry that isn’t sad/mad nor happy. I’d be really interested in hearing what you think!

  2. I guess that depends on what you consider happy! Happy is a wide range of emotions, including (but not limited to):

    – bittersweet
    – blithe
    – playful
    – incidental
    – right
    – celebratory

    I think there’s a tendency to think of happiness in poetry as this all yellow, bright thing. A happy poem is not excluded from having its blue bits, or other accompanying emotions. It is not an all-or-nothing deal. Perhaps start from there; write as you normally do and gradually add bits of what could be considered happiness, and see where it takes you – instead of sitting down with the intention of writing a happy poem.

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