This piece contains some explicit language. Additionally, I do not own the rights to any poems that I happen to mention, which are copyright of the original respective owners.
Am I a professional poet?
Am what I about to write have any merit whatsoever?
But that is probably at the end of the day the best thing about poetry. It does not matter whether you are professionally published or just an individual writing what you believe freelance, because interpretation is the driving force behind poetry. A person can write a piece, and the author will have one interpretation – that which the poem is meant to be about in their mind, but a dozen other people could have a completely different opinion.
In university, I was taught this one ideology by my poetry lecturer, which was a discussion topic that began back in high school, how one should never be afraid to stipulate their beliefs on what a poetic product is, because it can be interpreted in so many different ways. Often a fiction novel will have only one interpretation available, but poetry is so more free and open.
There are differences of opinion. My poetry tutor in university, who was not my lecturer by the way, said there was only one true way to interpret poetry, and that is the way the author designed it. I would disagree on that count. Back when I was with a band, I remember writing the piece ‘I See You.’ Now yes, I have had many a discussion with people, teachers and students alike about whether lyrics and poetry share commonalities, and I would agree that they do, but it would ultimately depend on the piece. My year eleven literature teacher for instance compared the Wham song ‘Wake me up before you go go’ which was probably not a good choice to compare with poetry because it is best listened to musically rather than poetically. However, if you were to choose a piece like Amazed by Lonestar, such is more reminiscent of poetry. Anyway…the song I wrote for my band was a piece about regret. I clearly remember the first few lines going something like:
‘I don’t know if you saw me,
but I know I saw you,
looking the way all lovers do
when they look into your eyes,
caught within a paradise
of which I can’t escape from….’
Now, when this was performed to an audience consisting of around one hundred and fifty people, I would like to state that yes, they enjoyed it, but they interpreted it as a love piece. True, the chorus went:
‘Roses are red,
violets are blue,
you’re my girl
I’m hot for you.
Roses are red,
violets are blue,
realise I’m in love
when I see you’
but, reminiscent of the opening line, ‘don’t know if you saw me’, eventually another verse followed with ‘or if you ever will’, which symbolised how the man knew of the woman and loved her, but the woman had not taken notice of him, nor ever would, hence, the idea of regret; not ever verbally confessing his feelings and hence having to watch her leave, believing her to be better than he was, which furthered the notion of never confessing to her how he felt. So, this demonstrates the notion of interpretation. A part of me may not have enjoyed the fact that my piece was interpreted differently than I had originally intended, but if those in the audience enjoyed the piece for the interpretation they had conjured in relation to it, then far be it from me to deny them this happiness. Additionally, Hoobastank’s ‘the reason’ was enjoyed by many, to such an extent that it was used as the song at their wedding, despite the fact that it too was a piece about regret, and the song from the Police, ‘every breath you take’ was believed to be about stalkers, but that was also used by many as the song at their wedding as well.
Poetically speaking however, Shakespeare’s Sonnet XVIII, ‘Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s Day’, Is reminiscent of interpretation. There is the belief that it was written for his secret infatuation, a young, beautiful maiden, and there is also the going belief that he wrote it for a man that he cared for, which according to some could have also been his muse, hence, interpretation at work.
Again, interpretation can of course be applied to reality. For instance, the terms ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming.’ Climate change sounds quite negative – I mean, the climate is changing? And there is that whole unknown factor in the equation where we don’t know what it is changing into. But global warming? First thing that comes to mind when I hear such a term includes the likes of shirts, shorts and foxy ladies in bikinis. Bring on global warming I say with that kind of interpretation, but a big ‘NO!’ to climate change, which is quite humorous due to the fact that they are one and the same.
Now, apart from interpretation, the other aspect of poetry I find most intriguing is the way it is written. Unlike a novel, piece of prose or other like piece, a poem is not traditionally bound by the rules of grammar, and so one can cheat. This is not necessarily limited to the idea of false rhymes (time, line, etc; just because they are similar they can be used), no, not at all. I am making reference to an entire poetic piece in general. An average sentence in a written work of fiction requires good grammatical skills, punctuation and flowing dialogue to keep the sentences moving appropriately. This is not the case in poetry, in which one can purposefully toss these stereotypical rules out the door and change that which so many teachers have argued should never be changed. Many poets have indeed done this, including the likes of William Shakespeare, Andrew Marvell, John Forbes, John Keats and Sylvia Plath, just to name a couple of the many dozens of amazing talent that has blessed the world of poetry throughout the ages. Many of their well known pieces could be seen as making very little sense literally, and yet they were much loved for the content which was easy to decipher even when the notorious rules of grammar were temporarily relaxed.
This can also be furthered with the use of rhyme, stanzas and syllables. I used to find it difficult to enjoy a poem that did not rhyme, and now, after reading many pieces that did in fact not rhyme, I have become quite accustomed to it. Some pieces additionally use syllables, which I use in every single one of my pieces, but others never ever use. This is one more aspect of poetry that is so great. Any writer of poetry can create a piece and make it their own by changing the rules of the written word when it is used in poetic pieces. One can use different formed lines, with around then words in one and two in another; with fifteen syllable in one line, twelve in the next and three in the one that comes after that. This once again is symbolic of interpretation; one writer can believe a poem should be written in one particular style – and another can have a completely contradictory belief.
As for whom my favorite poets are? I don’t exactly have any. I prefer pieces, rather than poets, for many of them wrote a particular piece or two that I believed to be especially enjoyable. William Shakespeare and sonnets XVIII ‘Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s Day’ and CXXX ‘My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun.’ I enjoyed this piece because it would seem that Shakespeare is laughing at the stereotypical poetic method of writing about the woman you love. Many writers, including this unpublished soul have written pieces where we compare the woman in question to Heaven and other such outlandishly beautiful ideals, expressing her beauty, whether it be physical or internal to be unrealistically amazing. Yet in this piece, Shakespeare seems to be taking the piss out of the piece, by almost insulting the woman of whom he is displaying his affections for by depicting her the way she truly looks, which makes her seem almost hideous when in comparison to pieces where one compares the woman to impossible comparisons, when in fact he is but articulating the image of the natural flesh and blood woman. XVIII on the other hand is enjoyable to me because it is quite the opposite of CXXX in that he is articulating the love he feels for the individual in question as being undying, and depicting this person as a ‘summer’s day’, which is exactly the opposite of the comparison’s in CXXX where he refers to the woman’s breasts as being ‘dun’ in colour. I of course use the term ‘person’ rather than ‘she’ because as already visited, it is yet to be determined by some as to whom he was writing this piece for. Additionally in the conclusion of the piece, Shakespeare makes the notion that he will allow the person to live forever within the verse with the line ‘so long lives this’, which could be reflective of the most amazing gift one can bestow onto another for Shakespeare is allowing them to be permanently remembered for all the years to come within the stanzas of the poem.
Andrew Marvell, and his piece ‘To His Coy Mistress’, which my Reading Contemporary Fiction lecturer described as not a love poem per se, but a poem about ‘fucking’ as he put it. Such references are quite subtle, but are explosive when you look at them in the context they are provided, with numerous vaginal references, including ‘the iron gates of life’, and the references consisting with the ravishing hunger for lustful romance with the idea of predators and prey and the idea of devouring the other. The biblical references at the beginning most sections of the piece fit well at this point where the author expresses basically his undying love, followed by his want to gaze upon the body of the woman, wanting two hundred years to adore each breast of the woman, followed by an additional thousand to marvel the remainder of her body’s feminine beauty. Basically, for the time this piece was quite bold, and its references speak loudly to this very day.
This piece and those of Shakespeare further the notion that poetry is undying. It does not matter if it is written today, ten years ago, a hundred years ago or four hundred years ago. All that time could go by and the references, messages and stories told in these poems reign just as true today as the day they were transcribed into words on paper.
The poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling is yet another piece I quite enjoy, for it is a very inspirational and beautiful piece from a father to his son. This poem explains the importance of life and the lessons one is to receive, and how one is to overcome the trails of life, which, if one is able to accomplish will allow them to succeed and enjoy in the richness of what this world has to offer. Of course, the poem also highlights the deceitful natures of bad natured men and to look out for these traits, and to live a life that is destined to be great and true rather than the malevolent opposite to this. Like I said – very inspirational.
Again, Ulysses by Alfred Tennyson is a piece that I find quite beautiful, but not in the message like the other pieces I have mentioned previously, but in the way that it has bane transcribed. The poetry makes references to aspects of history and to that of nature and the natural world in such a beautifully majestic way that one is almost incapable of not being fully immersed in the words. Everything whilst reading this piece seems almost to be an accurate depiction of what the world is. The poem is inspirational, yes, but not in the way that Kipling’s ‘If’ is, but in a way that it allows the reader to feel admiration for their surroundings and to look back on their life and to realise that they too have ‘enjoy’d greatly’ but also ‘suffer’d greatly’ too, but to never give up.
On another note, the poem ‘the flea’ by John Donne is yet another piece that has proven enjoyable, and, just like the piece by Marvell is a more sexualised variant. By sleeping with the man in question the woman will barely lose a thing; that is what the poem is about – the convincing of a young virgin of whom is quite prestigious yet young in a higher class society to bed a man who is less than her family’s stature, which some would consider a most heinous crime. However, the poem is written very smartly, for it was in this time that everyone had fleas, whether they be the rich or the poor (but perhaps the poor had a few more, rhymes! How sickening!), and the man makes reference to the flea bite as his argument – that such a tiny little bite is reflective of what will be lost when the woman sleeps with the man, which is a direct reference to the breaking of her hymen. Smart, sumptuous and quite bold for its time, this poem still reigns true to this day where men still attempt to come up with random reasons for ravishing damsels to sleep with them – with the exception that half the world no longer suffer from flea infestations, so if you happen to be lucky, or maybe unlucky enough to live in that most part of the world, such a poetic piece can no longer be visited as one’s argument.
Additionally John Keats would find his way onto my list, but I would not give mention to any of his pieces. Many a person has told me in previous poetic classes and such that they really enjoyed his pieces. I for one will have to say that some of his work leaves me feeling at a loss, although when he is romantic, which he always is, so what I mean to say is – when he is being blatantly romantic and one can clearly understand his meaning, it is then that his words and his meaning is all but flawless, and it is in those moments that you can almost feel the love dripping from each page like candle wax.
However, all of these poets one might notice, are not Australian. I realise that John Forbes is visualised as one of Australia’s most amazing poets, but I would not be one of them. I apologise for saying such things about a man who passed away, and at quite a young age too, but I found his pieces, and to this day when I on occasion go back and have another look at them, find such poetry to be quite depressing. To be frank, and perhaps not really masculine at the same time – I prefer romantic poetry, and I do not believe for a second that Mr. Forbes ever in his life wrote a poem that was quintessentially romantic in design or interpretation.
I was however once quite ignorant about poetry, believing all of it to be about seduction, which is initially what peaked my interest in it. I do suppose a part of me legitimately believed that if I was successful in understanding the poetic word, then I would be capable of finding the key to a woman’s heart and unlocking all the love that was inside for myself, so that I, and only I, would enjoy the fruitful delights that lay waiting on the other side. Any of the pieces I wrote, and the pieces I continue to write toady are reminiscent of this belief. For one, as previously mentioned, almost all are about romance, and two, some are based upon actual living, breathing people.
‘Hard to admit I love you’ in which I mentioned the woman in question was named ‘Rachel’ was actually about a woman, named Rachel, who was in my fiction writing class at university, and the sexual references displayed within the piece told the untold story of some of the fantasies I might indeed wish to experience with her.
The ‘Untitled Beauty’ poems are about Jedi master Aayla Secura from the Star Wars franchise, and additionally about a young woman who dressed up as said character for a ComicCon.
The poems ‘the Night Melbourne Died’, ‘I’m never going to be good enough for you’ and ‘No Death in Love’ are all reminiscent of the same woman who I had a crush on, and later discovered she had a boyfriend, the latter of the three being the last poem I ever wrote in relation to her which was more of a break up piece, like a poem that I used to officially get over her, whilst at the end making reference to the fact that if she ever wanted me all she had to do was say the word.
‘Unloved’ was a poem about a woman who I saw at university for about a minute from afar, and the piece ‘Metropolis Me’ was about a certain young actress who portrayed a certain masked character in the Mass Effect franchise, and the hypothetical notion of what it might have been like to have bene friends and to have grown up together.
But, I digress back onto the subject of Australian poets I like – there is only one: Tara Mokhtari. Although she is probably not widely recognised yet, her poetry has appeared in a number of literature magazines, and on sites across the web, including her personalised blog. I additionally know her to have worked in the television and theater industry, and to be on the verge of being the next J.K Rowling, Oz version. Her poetry ranges from those reminiscent of love, life, the making of mistakes and depression. A link to her poetic blog can be found here: http://taramokhtari.wordpress.com/ However, I do not think she has visited her page in quite a while…
Of course, I believe I am simply bias towards Ms. Mokhtari, because she was my creative writing tutor back in my first year of university, and I was quite attracted to her then, as I still am now, believing her to quite possibly be the single most sexiest Australian woman I have ever seen.
Additionally, online I would recommend the poetic work of the following WordPress users, if you are not already following their pages:
Maggie Mae: http://maggiemaeijustsaythis.wordpress.com
Coco J. Ginger: http://courtingmadness.wordpress.com/
Clown Ponders: http://clownponders.wordpress.com
Mary Anne Pale: maryannepale.wordpress.com
I would however not recommend the work of Totalovrdose unless you are partially drunk (http://totalovrdose.wordpress.com/) because to recommend my own poetic blog would seem pretentious and egotistical.
I apologise to any poetry bloggers who I did not recommend. I myself am only following around ten or so blogs that incorporate poetry into their design, and this is just a random handful. I am certain there are millions of others online, all of whom I are sure to be quite deserving of an appreciative gander.
Well, that is all from me and my opinions on poetry, poets and pieces that I like.
Thank you for reading.
Sincerely and with kind regards,