A question I am sure many poets have asked themselves: why write poetry?
For many years, I thought poetry was outdated and something no one had any interest in, so of course I avoided it…how sad!
Then after many years of therapy for mental illness, I sat down following one session and just wrote a poem. It made me feel good, as if someone had relieved some of the internal pressure.
I mentioned this to my therapist when I next saw her. She told me to keep writing. I did and I have not needed therapy since. Poetry keeps me sane!
There are obviously many other reasons to write poetry and each poet will have different reasons but I am inspired by areas that cause an emotional response in me.
Poets who can write about a flower, a blade of grass or something so random amaze me because I need to be emotionally involved in my creativity…but perhaps that’s my curse.
Exorcise the demons
One of the most powerful reasons I write poetry is because it helps me deal with the emotion that clogs up my soul.
Many of my poems are dark or at least lean toward the darkness. This is because I am using my words to exorcise the demons of my past and frustrations with the world around me.
I have experienced, and lived with, mental illness, sexual abuse, bullying and trying to carve out a life as a gay person in a very heterosexual world. All this makes for some great and painful creativity.
Growing up gay in a straight universe
Living in this world as a member of the smallest and most vilified minority will always produce great material to create with.
I can think of no other minority group in which its members can actually be legally killed in certain parts of the world just because they are in that group. This makes you see life very differently to the majority and privileged heterosexuals, whether male, female, white or black.
Society drives me crazy
Another big reason for me writing poetry is because society/culture/people both fascinate and infuriate me.
While sat on public transport, in a cafe or anywhere where there are people, I hear some really fascinating or just plain stupid things said. Of course, there is also the news, media and social media. These all often inspire me to write a poem.
One poem I wrote last year was about just how easily many in modern Western society choose to Take Offence to things. It just seems crazy to me sometimes how some of us find offence where none existed.
Another example is the frustration and absolute insanity that is Brexit. I held out for so long but in the end I just had to write about one of the biggest events to impact my country, especially in my lifetime.
Love & Romance
Before you think that only pain and sadness inspires me, and that everything I create is either dark or bitchy, there is my softer side. Yes, I do have a sunnier, happy side too.
Many of my poems are inspired by love and romance, whether that be past or present. In fact, at the time of writing this article my Love Poems category has the most poems in it, so perhaps I am not so dark after all.
I have read in several places that poetry is experiencing a renewed popularity. I am not sure how true this is because I don’t seem to know anyone who reads poetry.
For us poets, I guess this is unimportant because I doubt many poets write just because poetry is apparently popular at the moment.
What about you?
Well, you now know why I write poetry, so what is the reason you write your poems?