There’s no rule that says every person who writes poetry must read poetry. Plenty of poets write for the sole purpose of personal expression. Poetry writing can be therapeutic, cathartic, and enjoyable. Nobody needs to read in order to write such poetry. But there’s a difference between writing for oneself and writing for an audience of strangers.
When you don’t read or study poetry, it shows in your work. There are identifiers that expose a lack of readership; here are some of the most common clues:
Forced rhymes: You can only think of one word that rhymes with lonely, so you force it into your poem even though it makes no sense or interferes with the poem’s focus.
Meter mishaps: You can’t find a way to arrange the words so that the meter remains intact. Oh well, you decide, and break the meter pattern for that one line. You hope nobody will notice, but everybody does, because that one line throws off the entire flow of the poem.
Square pegs: Similar to meter mishaps, this is when the language is forced to meet the meter, resulting in phrasings that sounds super awkward because the poet is trying to say something in five syllables that simply cannot be said in less than ten.
Word blizzard: Probably the most common mark of an unread poet is the sheer wordiness of a poem. There are often tons of unnecessary words, and the poem reads more like natural speech or choppy prose than crafted poetry.
Art has no editor: This is the mark of many amateur writers, not just poets. But it’s especially common for poets to think that a poem must remain pure, existing in its first-draft from for all of eternity. No editing! These poems are unrefined, peppered with typos, and often display all the other hallmarks of poets who are not well read in their form.
As music went and silence overwhelmed As in deep despair, I thought to end When nothing seemed to help me on on my way Perhaps I’d lost the track and so must pay
Empty now of thought and of desire The vision of the darkness without fire The utter loss of any help at all From the depths, my heart cried out appalled Expecting nothing, hoping even less A fire of gold appeared to hold,caress And tears rained down my face from eyes amazed While in my flesh I felt caressed and saved I bowed my head in assent to this good The crucified, the lost, have understood
The ritual is to put the garbage out My day begins the night before it’s due When I recall the day, I have to count Instead of Mass, we put the garbage out No Confession so no sin,no horrid doubt No neighbours and no prayer,no ancient pew The only ritual left, toss garbage out My mind begins to think about the clue
The way to be successful is now clear Deny your shame,humiliate the poor Have no friends or mate whom you hold dear The way to be successful is right here Control your cronies with a hint of fear Tread on the lowly, who can but endure The way to be successful, shed no tears Repress your shame,humiliate the poor
Accidentally tread on someone’s face As you run for president again Make sure their features are unclear,erased Knowingly tread on the human face It’s not evil, it is just bad taste The devil is a clown, we feel no strain Incidentally tread on someone’s face As you run for president again
Every poem begins with a first line After that we choose the space and time The words float in my head till they combine Must a poem begin with its first line? Some are bold and some are more refined Some are free and some have lissom rhymes A poem begins by finding a first line After that we search the Deep Words Mine
With the Mass in Latin,I believed. The words evoked what no-one could conceive The women in their hats looked like proud queens What was, what is, and what once might have been The men came late,hung over, full of dreams They took no Wafer, drunk from living streams I did not mind confessing made up sins. Nor did I mind beans found in small tins.
Religion gives fresh themes to those obsessed Guilt and sin,but scruples are the best I went to church and told God I was through He said, hang on,I’ll send my Light to you.
Thus it was that I was saved from death I had worshipped Satan in duress. After that I took a job for health I am rich in love, though not in wealth
To me there is a White House of the Soul We shall meet again there when we’re whole A place of beauty, space and coloured light God won’t boast, and neither will the mice