My Problem with Poetry

Two consecutive days of posts? Is there a problem? No. Christmastime is many things: busy, stressful, joyful, and at times, troubling. I suspect that I won’t make another post until after Christmas. So, I thought I’d get this post up…
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The Saturday writing group is getting more poetry submissions. This poses a problem for me–I don’t do poetry. Typically, I have trouble understanding it, and I write it poorly. My poems could put off true poetry lovers for quite some time. (Okay, perhaps that’s an exaggeration but not by much.)
For me, poetry seems to be full of allusions that must be interpreted properly to understand the meaning or easily understood works that brings forth a slew of emotions.
I struggle with the interpretation and manage to miss the full meaning. As time has progressed, I’m getting better at it, but it’s still difficult. I try to find the theme or message, write it down, and judge if the entire work is hitting it. If not, then I question if my interpretation is off or if the work wandered.
More problematic are the poems that I understand. One author’s poetry, in particular, is honest, frank, and well-written. It accomplishes what every writer hopes: Make the reader have an emotional reaction. All of this is good….
But sometimes, it threatens to open a door to where I relegated the painful, worst-days and worst-moments. Reliving them isn’t high on my list of things to do.
At a recent meeting, one of submissions contained a poem where I couldn’t believe that one person could be so cruel to another in a close relationship. (I’m purposely being vague here.) The actions described were appalling. I too easily pictured it happening, and I felt betrayal and humiliation. Again, the the poem did it’s job at evoking emotion. Too well. I knew that if the group discussed this specific poem in detail that I’d have to drop out of the discussion. The last thing I needed was for that door to swing open unexpectedly.
Perhaps this is my problem. Perhap, by not opening the door, I’m missing out on the proper interpretations. Perhaps, I should open the door more often (in privacy and safety) and allow it to inform my writing more. Perhaps…
In any event, I need to continue. I need to get better a poetry critiques. And, who knows, perhaps I’ll grow as a writer in the process.
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