National Poetry Month

All bad poets try

at one point or another

to make a haiku

– Exalted Salvation

~~~

So April marks National Poetry Month. Unfortunately, it’s not my nation, but everything celebrated in America is celebrated in the rest of the world anyway. I know budding poets are out there eager to take this chance to write and showcase their stellar masterpiece. Being a bad poet, as referred to above, I’m not sure if 1 month is perhaps too long to make a poem, but from what I hear from serious poets, real poems need plenty of time for mood, inspirations and then revisions before the final piece is nailed down. So while the point of NaNoWriMo is about writing the longest novel ever, the point of NaPoWriMo (and yes, there is a NaPoWriMo) is totally different. Length is never the point in poetry.

Or if you’re really an on-the-spot kind of poet, there are plenty of poetry slam events to take part in. Poetry slams prioritise fun over any type of quality, and trying to think on your feet while creating a poem sounds like a really fun game to me.

Or if you’re like me, and know nuts about poetry, celebrate the occasion by giving it a chance and picking up some neat poetry collections. There are anthologies sorted by theme (such as, apparently, poems that make grown men cry) or by author, and some poets are so good that all their poems are guaranteed of quality.

Many people complain that it’s difficult to see the allure of poetry. How do you tell a good poem from a bad one, when they have so few words and can be so obscure at times, not being in complete sentences for example? I think that poetry is like a song (except the song has a tune and vocals to distract you from the unintelligibility of its lyrics) and it can only be fully appreciated when you are in the same mood as the poem. A poem about existentialism should be read when you wonder about your purpose in life, for example. So it’s not so much that poems are deep, or that only soppy people like them, but that said soppy people are the ones most likely to be in tune with their own emotions, and know when they need a literary pick-me-up in the form of a poem that best expresses their feelings, even if they do so in a disjointed chunk of text.

I must admit, though, that the poems hardest to get right are by far the most common ones, like haikus. Or even free verse, because people think they can just write whatever and it’ll work. Limericks are actually much easier to write effectively, because if you do manage to follow its stringent rhyming patterns the result is always amusing and witty. But of course most of the time you can’t find those words. And maybe that’s why limericks are good, because the bad ones know to give up.

I talk so much about poetry that I really ought to actually read one, oughtn’t I? I don’t think I can sustain any more entries on poetry with such limited exposure to the craft. Time to actually find an interested friend.

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