My childhood heroes have always encouraged me to pour my heart onto paper – to articulate complex emotions into words for the parchment to cherish forever. However, no matter how hard I tried to maintain a journal, I was never able to accomplish such a task; even dedicating myself to filling up a Moleskine notebook with smooth pages was not enough motivation.
After many attempts, I finally realized why there was no incentive for me to maintain a journal: my heartfelt words, immersed in both complex emotion and carefully selected diction, were being read by only my own pair of eyes. I thought to myself, what was the point of crafting a masterpiece when nobody was going to appreciate it?
Unlike journaling, poetry is a medium for me to articulate my emotions and beliefs in vague ways. It is like creating a vivid movie: the line breaks represent the dystopian scene changes; the absence of capitalizations represent the relationship between the narrator and her distant lover; the stray period with a line of its own represents a lingering, incomplete thought; and the vague diction leaves the story open to further interpretation and intelligent debates.
When I finish writing a piece, I hit ‘copy’, ‘paste’ and push the poem out of its nest and into a Facebook chat. If I’m feeling brave, I narrate it with the hopes that those around me can recognize the emotion embedded in the wording.
Pushing the poem out of its nest is the heart-wrenching part of the writing process. Like any other creative piece, it can:
Fly. A strong first flight is a good sign. This means that the poem has taken on a successful route and is admired by readers everywhere.
Flap its wings. The poem manages to survive flight; however, different readers interpret the poem in different ways. Poets will say that it’s beautiful, friends will scratch their heads, and parents will be convinced that their child is depressed.
Hit a tree. Readers get lost in the middle of the poem. They don’t understand where you are going. This is when readers say, “At least it sounds pretty!”
Die. The poem collapses into the cold hard ground. It is not a work of art; it is word vomit embellished with copyrighted ideas, and thus should not have existed to begin with.
Poems are representative of your subconscious emotions. Many assume that poetry is merely a sophisticated paragraph broken up into lines and stanzas. But only a true artist can create a spectacular piece that provokes thought and reevaluates clichés. Poets are artists too. We dive into the depths of the English language and experiment on paper. Our tricolor palette consists of punctuation, vocabulary and blank spaces; for instance, a separate stanza isn’t just another stanza – it is representative of a change in emotion, a somber stillness, an eager anticipation.
This is why I write poetry. To me, poetry kills two birds with one stone: I can pour my heart onto the pages whilst still showing the world my carefully curated work of art.
(It’s also because I’ve tried painting but failed miserably.)