I Suck At Poetry

The worst critic of any literary piece is normally the author. Hardly ever can I, or any other writer I’ve met, complete a piece of any size, and just be done. I understand that editing is a necessary part of the process, but seems to be hard to finish and be completely happy with what you’ve done. The more you read, the more you find better words to fit in place of another word. Even so, changing that word would possibly give a different meaning to that sentence, do you have to decide to keep the original word or remove the sentence.

“But if I keep the original word, does that make it really the better?”

It gets to the point where I have to tell myself, “It clearly gets my point across in the style that I wanted. I can’t find any grammatical errors. I’m happy with it.” At that point, I’m only ninety-nine percent happy at best. I close that essay, chapter or poem and leave it to the rest of the critics.

Now with all of that being said, once I close the case on any project, I have reached a point of overall satisfactory; unless I attempt to write poetry.

I suck at poetry. The realization takes away from the desire to properly convey the feelings of disgust I’m having right now. So I’m settling for, “I suck at poetry” to simply say what I mean and get it over with. Growing up, my dad hated the term “suck” and would have much rather preferred my siblings and I use a substitute with a bit more tact. This only led me to use “suck” when I really felt something could not get any worse than its current state. Therefore, I suck at poetry.

The good thing about this is that I actually enjoy writing poetry. I love translating my emotional stresses and joys into literary coherency that can be felt by others through reading. I love transcribing nature’s scenes into words that attempt to convey what is beheld in the eyes. Unfortunately, poetry is the only form of writing that I feel can make a decent attempt at getting these feelings across. The good thing about poetry is that most of it is first-person based. There is no standard form to my feelings or how I convey them. The fashions, styles, techniques and even grammatical choices are normally left to the writer.

I guess at this point, you may ask, “How then, can one suck at poetry?” My response would be the same way someone can suck at painting. Then there is the argument of abstract art, and that every viewer sees something different, even from what the artist may have portrayed. Is that what poetry is? Abstract? I’m asking as I write.

Literally, I have started to change my argument as I am typing. I read Robert Frost again and again and again. Have I started to compare mine to his and in the process lost my individuality? Or am I really not as good as I think?

Nope. Even when I try standardized forms, it just does not flow as well as I know it should. Even some of my peers write some of the most elegant pieces with ease, whereas I sweat over bumbling lines of trash before labeling it “100% Effort”.

I feel as though I have poetic thoughts. I can write poetic lines. I can say a poetic phrase. I do not think I’m good at poetry as a genre though. The realization that you may not be good at something that you love, can really put a damper on your mood. However, I love it to the point where I’ll continue writing it and sharing it as though it’s the best in the world.

It’s the equivalent of knowing that I lack the looks of Denzel Washington, the physique of Idris Elba and the charm of Will Smith; but I still feel like their little brother and will eventually grow into my own. I may not be the very best at it, but I’m the best I can be at it right now. I’ll get better.

3 thoughts on “I Suck At Poetry

  1. It’s just practice. 🙂 For example, if you want to stretch your poetry muscles without pressuring yourself, practice writing your thoughts out—one-liner ideas, observations, whatever—in open verse. It’ll get you used to metre so when it comes time for serious writing, the form will come as second nature.

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