My goal in writing is to be able to be my most authentic. For me, poetry is a releasing of raw emotions. Complete and utter honesty of emotion is necessary to have a good piece. I don’t believe that the topic or genre of a piece matters but a reader can tell when there is something disingenuous about a piece of writing. It is supposed to make the writer uncomfortable to be sharing so much yet they still do for the sake of their art. Writing exposes what we don’t always freely say. With my writing, I am trying to hone in on my honesty because I feel like that will make my writing better. I sometimes steer away from being too honest because in my head I can almost picture the people I am writing about or just someone who I don’t want to see my writing reading it out loud. That picture keeps so many words in my head and off the page which makes me sad. I want to be less scared to be very explicit because I want to get my thoughts out there and see what I can really do with my art when I’m not scared of consequences.
I am trying harder to find time to write for fun but it’s so hard. Whenever I have the time to write, it feels like all motivation is lost. I get stage fright when the pen is in my hand and can’t find words that deserve to be on the page. I am trying to practice writing despite a lack of motivation because then maybe I’ll have more practice with how I like to format my writing and maybe find more inspiration from my attempts at writing. Learning how to push past my what I feel like I am lacking and my need for perfection on the first try feels impossible but I am getting there.
I’ve been writing poetry since I was in middle school which is why I am English Creative Writing major. I have loved writing poetry to express whatever I am feeling in the moment. Writing is a big part of my life and I hope to one day write a poetry book. I am still trying to perfect my skills as a writer and learn to share my work more but it is difficult. I’m not entirely sure how to start that process because becoming inspired doesn’t happen often enough. I am interested in learning how to publish a book and how to get my thoughts together to create a theme for a poetry book.
I really enjoyed the assignment of writing a cento. I decided to make my cento a collection of some of my favorite lines from some Sylvia Plath poems. Every line is from a different poem. After selecting about 8 lines from 8 different poems, I moved them around in different ways until they made the most sense. It was a lot of fun because it felt like I just had to read things I already enjoyed and put them together in a collage of sorts which is really cool. I also felt a lot less pressure on myself for how it would come out. None of the words were my own so I felt free to use them and not feel nervous about sharing it. But on the other hand, because none of them were my words I felt very hesitant to edit them. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to keep the poem as a collection of lines from Plath’s poems or edit some of the lines to have a little bit more of Mya in it. In the end, I decided to stick to the true meaning of a cento and just kept it as a collage of Plath’s words. I feel like later on would want to play around with editing it more to have more of my voice intertwined with Plath’s voice.
When writing about nature and agriculture, I feel that talking about spirituality is necessary. It feels too connected not to talk about them in the same breath. When we were given exercise 10, which was to write a poem about locating our pastoral in an unfamiliar place, I had to relate it to finding peace in a spiritual sense. I feel that unfamiliar places can give off a calming energy. I don’t believe the familiarity a person has with a place determines how peaceful it is. Especially when a place is very rooted in the natural and spiritual, it can be easy to get very religious and calming energy from it. This feeling is what I wanted to recreate in my poem but I’m not sure if I succeeded because it is such a broad feeling to encapsulate. By picking a specific natural place, it made it easier to hone in on the feelings that these types of places give me.
It was really weird to write a poem that had a set form before I started to write it. I usually write all of my poetry by way of free-writing. Everything I write comes with no thought to form until after it is written. It was really cool to see how writing with a pre-determined form helped me to write a poem. It was fun to write in a different way but I definitely prefer writing free verse.
As a black women, it is impossible for me not to think of my body as inherently making a statement. It takes up space and receives judgement, whether it be good or bad. It’s really hard for me to voice the feelings that society has given me about my body into a poem. I feel like in conversation because my thoughts are so scattered on the topic, it is easier for me to articulate myself because a conversation is more fluid. With a poem, I feel like my thoughts have to be more fleshed out and specific. The words have to be more exact because I can’t really explain myself more if all people have to go off is the poem and nothing more. I am always hesitant to write a politically charged poem because I don’t think my message will come off exactly the way I want it to and these are topics that I don’t want their to be any confusion on my intent.
I believe that writing about something you’re familiar with is equally hard as it is easy. When I want to write about something I am very familiar with, it can sometimes be easier for me because I can probably reference things about it that others can’t or wouldn’t have thought of. For example, for writing exercise 7, we had to write about something we are informed about so I wrote about my body which I obviously have the most knowledge about and experience with than anyone else could. But at the same time, writing about something I’m so familiar with makes me uncomfortable. I feel like I’m trying to capture something that will never be accurately described. At least with something I’m not as familiar with, I know that I won’t get it all completely right so I give myself more freedom. But with topics I’m more familiar with and informed on, I feel more pressure to be very accurate about every thing I say.
Looking up the background for words that are important to my writing was really interesting. I often use the themes of the body and touch through my writing. I know what they mean and are but I don’t often think of what the words mean and what their background is. I like to write about physical interactions because it has become really interesting to me the different ways a person can touch another. It is also interesting to me the different ways a persons touch can affect the other. It was really cool to see the different words used to define body and touch because now it has given me more words to incorporate in my poetry.
Knowing more of the background of words I use to talk about topics I’m already passionate about can really help the writing process and give me a wider range in my writing.
When we began working with stresses in poems and trying to do scansions in class, I was very confused. Being able to tell what syllables were stressed was not really making sense to me even after reading a poem aloud. It seemed to feel like despite hearing it, some syllables just felt like they could go either way. The one tip that really helped was that content words are usually the ones that are stressed. This tip helped with writing exercise number 5 which was to write a blank verse. I tried to alternate content words and prepositions or articles but it wasn’t as easy as I originally thought it was going to be. Giving the poem the rhythm was really difficult but I really enjoyed the flow it gave to my words once I was done. I feel like once I keep playing with it, it’ll eventually feel more natural to hear and write.