Using Creative Expression in AnecdotesA Lesson by Kiri Nells
A common misconception about poetry is that just because you write about a tragic and heart-felt event, doesn't mean that the poem conveys that feeling....
A common misconception about poetry is that just because you write about a tragic and heart-felt event, doesn't mean that the poem conveys that feeling. If something happened to you that made you feel a very strong emotion, you should be writing the emotion and effect of the event more than the actual event. It may be tragic, but it's boring if how you feel isn't clearly expressed.
To write emotions into a poem about an event, it can be as simple as using more mood words and vocabulary.
Sally ran down the hill to see her sick grandmother.
Sally raced frantically down what seemed to be and endless hill of misfortune. Her gravely ill elder awaited her.
It's impossible to show the reader exactly what you are feeling, but the effect of your word choice can come close. The first sentence makes you want to say, "Oh, poor Sally..." but the second sentence makes you want to say, "What happens next?"
Here's what I've seen a lot in entries to contests about dark poetry:
I heard the doctor say,
I walked home.
I cried myself to sleep.
I lost another child
My husband gave me a hug.
My life will never be the same.
Sad event, correct? The problem is that simply writing events and then adding line breaks doesn't make it a poem. You want to feel bad for that person, but it's a little hard because they aren't really sharing a lot of emotion that poetry is supposed to convey. You're stuck with schema and past experiences to work with.
Spirals into my brain
Again and again in the cold nights I hear it.
The lifelessness I brought into the world
My now empty, taunting womb stays to destroy me
Inside-out I will crumble.
A loss that gives
A gift I cannot return
For even the warmth of my lover's arms
Cannot change the story
Cannot bring life
To the unborn child
To my undead heart
Take note that the same terrible event takes place, but the feelings are expressed in a much more convincing way. Stories and line breaks don't make a poem, emotion and honesty make a poem.
Added on March 4, 2011
Last Updated on March 4, 2011