Monthly Archives: October 2013

National Poetry day

I think it was Stephen Fry who said that writing poetry was like having a guilty secret. And it does feel that way. Tell people you’re a writer and their reaction is often a good one, though they will as a rule expect you to further qualify the statement by explaining what kind of writer you are. A novelist is usually a safe bet. Blogger might raise eyebrows and a sudden lack of interest. If you want true kudos mention screenwriter, then you will often see a smile, at times an actual grin will begin to develop on the subjects face. Their eyes may grow a little misty as they think more Hollywood than Cricklewood.

However mention poet and you might as well say immature person not living in the real world with serious childhood issues. For some strange reason society as a whole tends to regard poetry as something either for the very young or the very old. While it is useful to know the odd poem learned in schooldays, it is far from all right to pursue such things and you shouldn’t under any condition write the things.

Poetry has a history steeped in richness. The language, any language has beauty, and poetry forms sculptures from the clay of grammar. Years ago poets were looked on as true artists by all, now they are related to a writer’s second or should that be third division. Poets have never changed, only the way society perceives them has. Today far from being treated as the artists they truly are, poets are the lowest paid writers and this is a shame on the one hand and a blessing on the other.

It is of course a shame that the modern poet is made to feel less than other kinds of writer. But since the true artist works not for bread, clothing and shelter, but because they must work in order to exist. The fact that regardless of output, a poet can never achieve great fortunes as a direct result of their poetry alone, there really is no pressure to conform, the artist is free to create from the heart and soul of creativity.

That saying it is still a genuine shame that poetry has fallen so far from grace in this age of high tech and even higher expectations, that it no longer serves a purpose in the eyes of the majority.

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