Skip to content

Emotional Poetry

I was pondering, perhaps as usual, Poetry “shouldn’t be” about feelings, but doings.

Poems can be feelings and stories, but can extend past that. It can about what the poem does, not what it says.

Yet, here’s the new stumbling block, when I ask after friends I don’t seek to learn about doings as an end of curiosity but, if anything, an indication of their well-being/feelings. Hm. What does that indicate?

Do I agree with myself? When I take on caring for someone, or that sense of bond takes itself onto me, I want to enter their shoes, see what and who they like more favorably than before. All the nodes that light up for them are relevant for me as things to notice, perhaps appreciate if I can. I extend myself into that positive. What they hate or fear I don’t throw myself into. I notice but interests are housing of the mind and feelings are just fickle wind that blows thru its windows, even when its an abiding prevailing wind. I don’t trust feelings, mine or anyone else’s. I’m skeptical.

Even if motivations derive from feelings, are the plumbing system for the public fountains of one’s life, I have a hard time with the idea that people can believe in their feelings any more than tooth fairies.

I believe in gut instinct. That is another thing. It is a spinal, nerve column awareness of the data too big to parse to language. It is animal brain as body understanding threat or safety. It is not feelings anymore than an amoeba or slime mould, fish or ferret moving away from too much heat.

Gut instinct isn’t rendered into the superstructure of decorated thought that is poetry. Gut is movement, towards or avoidance. It is yes, no, uncertainty. But feelings are more for rococo phonetics. Or thoughts are.

Is the core of my problem of finding emotion-centered poems boring just bad implementation, B-movie type kludge, being told not led to be shown? Some of it.

Some is concern about the person wasting time, perfecting words when they could be addressing issues in life. What about the primacy of provocative stabs as emotional content? Yes.

There’s also the concern of valuing of emotional wings as good copy that trumps “anti-climatic” things like coming to ones senses, ruminating, countering oneself. It is a blurt channel that doesn’t admit much range. That’s part of the problem I have with “evocative” poems.

There’s the sidelining of mind, body, and subtly, sometimes. There’s the rewarding emotion with the driver’s seat when the vehicle of thought should be impounded for impaired driving, either excessive speed or wildly weaving or both. There’s what the hepped up emotions do the writers who do that to themselves, get repercussions and claim it as art when its just ineffective therapy because its in the box of entertaining others like a sitcom where characters are not permitted to develop. That would be being a control freak and not letting people work out methods they find acceptable for themselves but trying to override their choices by my disapproval. Part of that is sympathy at seeing people thrash. Part of that is naivety at believing that people believe in their own dramas and are unaware that they are playing make believe.

There are all those drawbacks.

But then there’s the matter that information that matters has some significance of attachment. Perhaps one has a fondness for gutturals or fricatives, but more likely there’s a personal tie. You care about the poem more if you care about the poet.

It’s TMI if it’s from a source that I have no connection with. Then it is an imposition. The emotional poetry coming from someone I’m in the cheering team for isn’t an imposition. It’s an extension of normal communication.

“Poems are not, as people suppose, emotions—those come easily and quickly enough. They are experiences.” said Rilke when talking about letting accumulation arrive. Silt settles and salient is visible.

Too many poems I read are easy, in the sense of superficial readings without probing that get applauded when they are a first draft survey at best.

Perhaps there’s a tacked on profundity. But it’s not a matter of depth in the transcendent sense so much as some people can knock those off the way others have a knack for rhyme and others for wit. The audience oohs. That’s no proof that something has been achieved anymore than the silence that greets a list poem that resists the idea of smooth or poeterly grace.

What’s the problem of emotional poetry? It asks me to care when I’m tapped for caring. I have an appetite for words and ideas but not the needy baggage that asks me to care when it doesn’t attempt to look after itself.

Part of the appetite for poetry is based on what is needed in life? Unrefined noise I’ve got. Things refined to the Nth degree, considered inside and out on level of ideological effect, poetics, role in society, effects in sound and rhythm, a story that’s been told, not so much.

Sometimes I want to be a matchmaker. I see one poet with flare and skill but duller than dirt stories. The person’s got nothing. I see a poet with verve from a great story but falls flat and kills it with the wording. If I matched them into a collaboration, probably, some of the time, by luck of Darwinianism, the dull story would find dull words more than the scintillating styling would map to a even better story, but still….

Maybe the what or the how doesn’t matter. Some people I’d be happy to have read a phone book.

I want communication from people I want to communicate with. Not from people who are narrow-spirited or mean, nor avoidant people who keep things conveniently loftly or edgy. Personality and mood makes more difference than content.

You become the company you keep. If someone is profoundly uncomfortable in their skin, do I want to grow in that direction? If someone only prioritizes crisis as a thing worth mentioning and seeks fire and conflict by preference, does that vicariously cover off any need I have for that, or encourage me to think in those terms of drama-seeking missals rather than solutions?

What traits do I want to cultivate? Humour, well-being, stamina, resilience. What would that poetry look like? Or would it only be a matter of observer and not the observed?

Related posts:

  1. Autobiographical Subjects and Emotions in Poetry In discussions of poetry, the taking of something familiar and defamiliarizing is one definition. Another one floated is making someone care about a sharing of intimate confidences. Both are voyeur...
  2. Poetry vs. Science and Poetry vs. Market Canada Arts Connect Magazine sports an article by Nathaniel G Moore Got Poetry-Month-Mania? For an entire month (though somehow I feel like this happens every few weeks) poets are endlessly...
  3. Poetry Cabaret: Where Poetry Comes from I mentioned some things from the Writers Fest’s poetry cabarets at Humanyms. Further from that time with Monty Reid, Dannabang Kuwabong, Meredith Quartermain, moderated by Rhonda Douglas… On the question...

Categories: Uncategorized.

Comment Feed

One Response

  1. ok, that’s all this scatteration but I accidentally put publish in future instead of save draft. it’s out there, dittering and dottering incomplete as it may be.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.