I recently started reading back on some of my poetry, and while my vague verses and somewhat cliffhanger-esque wordings did intrigue me, I noticed a recurring theme- I write a lot about shitty events or feelings, and usually my poems about aforementioned shitty things turn out pretty good. As someone who’s an aspiring writer, a sucker for lyricism, and as a poetry editor for BayArt (let me just shamelessly plug my featured poetry program, which you can find here) I read a lot of poetry. I try to write a lot of poetry too, but mostly reading these days. And I’ve noticed that amazing poetry comes from horrible events and emotions.
Pieces about breakups, depression, losing someone to suicide, cancer, and a plethora of tragedies that make me feel down just thinking about them. And yet, there are so many beautiful ways to capture failure and defeat. There are a myriad of different ways to depict the downfall of the human spirit, and I will never stop being fascinated by them. Yes, the difference between joy and happiness can be what makes a poem beautiful, but sometimes it’s the line drawn between denial and defeat that make a poem insightful. Sometimes the worst of the human spirit is what all of us can relate to, and while I know this doesn’t sound too rosy, it’s something we should think about. Because we’ve all experienced failure, and heartbreak, and disappointment. Writing poetry about your struggles is an absolutely wonderful and bold way to personalize your poems and make them a unique and grabbing piece that you can look back on with pride and love. Perhaps you can call this a case of artist’s irony, because to see beauty in tragedy seems a bit twisted at first, but slowly it starts to make sense. Just look at some of my old, slightly cringe poetry, where I write “there’s beauty in betrayal / there is truth in tears”. I found my old poetry journal from years ago. After a lot of digging I was both mortified and more informed on why poetry is so dynamic and subjective. Also, I learnt that younger me was super angsty and emotional, and upon further reflection found that not much has changed on that front! Now I just vent out my angst with self-depreciating jokes to strangers on the internet via a tiny, anonymous blog. Fun, right?
So what was the whole point of this little rant of mine? Why am I here, telling you guys what you already know, that bad experience can make good poetry? Maybe it’s because I realized that in our attempt to capture what we believe are universal experiences- things like sadness, heartbreak, and betrayal, are so varied and so different. We’re all clamoring to put what we feel into verses, and it’s chaos in one of its most artistic forms. Maybe I just thought that was something I had put into words because as someone who indulges in poetry in her free time, I found this sudden epiphany very valuable.