When I first decided I wanted to be a writer, a lot of the well-intended adults in my life suggested I hold off on trying to write a novel first-thing. Instead, I ought to write short stories. Being the overconfident kid I was, I paid them no mind. Several years later, I think I’m finally capable of writing middle-grade-novel-length books. And I’m still not particularly good at cramming my story plotlines into short story form. I can’t help but wonder, if I’d honed my short-story-writing skills in this time, would I be better off? I don’t know.
Still, now that I run a blog and am trying to update it every-other-weekly with new content, I do see the appeal of producing short, bite-sized content. I’m hesitant to share serialized excerpts of a story that I plan on printing in its entirety and selling – and, as noted, I am neither good at nor easily able to enjoy writing short stories. So I’ve taken to sharing my poetry, however badly it’s written.
One of my recently completed voice acting projects involved reciting some obscure poetry from a classic writer. From reading what other, more experienced poets have written, I feel like I’ve internalized some elements that improved my own poetry writing technique; it has certainly influenced the way I want my writing read back to me when I’m done with it.
Despite my greater interest in reciting poetry, I’ve never been a fan of reading it for fun. I’m by no means a poetry aficionado, or even a casual reader yet. But it’s an interest I’m starting to cultivate to the point that I’m now comfortable reading my own writings aloud and to other people.
I always enjoyed the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe, particularly the ones where nameless, first-person-POV characters (whom I always nickname Edgar) sink deeper and deeper into pits of insanity, with or without pendulums. But he also wrote poetry, which I’m hoping to explore. And as you know, I’m exploring the literary world of the Bronte siblings. Under the collective pseudonym of the Bell brothers, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne wrote loads of poems. I’m starting with the authors I’m already familiar with for their stories, and getting to know them anew for their poetic works.
On a final note, several of my friends and readers have asked me to explain the meaning of my poems, and whether or not their interpretations are accurate. I never know how to respond.
One of the things I resented in grade school was being given a poem and told there was only one right way to interpret it – the way the textbook said it was. I don’t think that’s the way poetry is meant to be read.
For me, the beauty of poetry is that it doesn’t have to be blunt and straightforward. I can be a lot more wishy-washy about the words I’m using than I can with regular storytelling, and still classify it as art – word-art. This leaves the reader wondering what they’ve just read, and what any of it even means, and each one has their own unique perspective to offer.
Some poems are meant to be obvious, but my poetry is intended to be cryptic. Even if I had at least one idea in mind when I wrote the thing, I want it to be interpreted in as many ways as possible. Do you think I’m just going to give away the one idea I had in mind when I was writing it, and take away your ability to interpret it in a million and one ways?