Over the years, I have come across poetry that was so hard to understand that I needed a dictionary handy just to get through it. Whether it was poetry written by intellectuals, or someone writing with a thesaurus, trying to find the most difficult of words to describe something, I don’t know. I have written poetry my whole life, but it was never difficult to understand. Words came to my mind and flowed out through my fingers onto paper. I didn’t seek out the most difficult words I could find, but words that just came out of me. There has to be a place in the world, for plain old simple styled poetry. I have to say that the other day I posted a poem on a Facebook Group posting for authors, and I got a comment back by one of the authors that really pissed me off.
Her: “Are you writing poetry for yourself, or to be published? Poetry is a gorgeous, complicated world, but tender writer beware. There’s a LOT to it.”
Me: “I don’t aspire to be a poet, although I write poems. There’s a lot of difference between poetry written by the common man and someone who has been afforded the good fortune of going to an ivy league college for instance. There is poetry out there that is supposed to be awesome, that I need a dictionary to decipher and to be honest, I just am not that interested. I would much rather know what the common man has to say and be able to understand it easily.”
Her: “Great poetry has nothing to do with an ivy league education, and everything to do with an obsession with words put together in fascinating ways, steeped in long tradition.”
Me: “Possibly so, but if a normal person can’t read it, what’s the point?” …there are a lot of different types of poetry, just as there are a lot different types of writers and readers. I just don’t think simple poetry should be discounted in any way.
Her: “Simple is not easy, and is worlds away from diary style thoughts dashed onto paper. Real poetry involves great deliberation and style. Careful, concise word choice. Since you have so little space to express your ideas, each word is much more important.”
Me: “I am no Shakespeare..nor aspire to be. I write what moves me.”
These comments made by one individual to me, made me feel highly defensive. Should one person’s way of writing be the same as another’s. Whose to say that something can’t just come to me in an instant and go down on paper and it couldn’t be fabulous. I don’t agree that writing a poem has to be a long and drawn out affair. Maybe I am wrong, but that is my opinion.
Here is the poem that I had posted, let me know your thoughts:
by Tina Douthat Marreez
When the music slows, it finds me center stage and all alone.
The spotlight encircles me and all at once my voice pierces the silence like a knife.
It is not me, but someone I have become.
I sway and trill and the audience is enraptured.
My voice carries as if for miles,
bringing chills to my own skin.
Rising and falling
High and clear
Faster and faster, to the final high note,
it leaves me breathless and the audience in applause.
For a brief second I am lost in the moment of glory.
Then the dancers burst forth from the curtains and move past me.
I can smell the heat of their bodies and they dance and sing.
The air around me is whirling.
It whips at my skirt and teases my hair.
As we hold hands preparing to take a bow,
I can feel perspiration wet between fingers.
It’s trickling down my back from the heat of the stage lights.
My heart is pounding and I feel truly alive for the first time.