Monday, 24 March 2014

Something helpless

07:30:00 Posted by Damp incendiary device , , , , , , 3 comments
Guest post by David Riley.



I know some who write humorous poetry. Good humorous poetry but only humorous poetry. 

Why? 

Some of these people also don’t read other poets. They give their reasons but what do we think? Are they frightened of what might happen if they try other sorts of poetry? Is it fear - that they won’t be able to do it? Find they have nothing to say? It can’t be because other poets have said more profound things than them - how would they know? They don’t read other poets. Is it that humour is enough, in their eyes, a security blanket that keeps them away from the challenge, keeps them safe?

Does thinking frighten them? A fear that they won’t be up to the task? I’d advise everyone to follow Rilke. Confront those fears.  Try out different styles of poetry and see what your fears are guarding. If that old so and so is right, it’s your most treasured possessions. 

Go on, dig them out. Be a poet.  Don’t just say you are.

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” 
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet 

Portrait of Rilke by Leonid Pasternak

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3 comments:

vicky ellis said...

Whatever you're writing, the best source of inspiration is always going to be reading I think. When I read something exciting, I can't help but pick up a pen. Reading something new almost always makes me want to get writing myself.

Humour is strongly linked to writing for the open mic. The audience feedback is such an integral part of writing for performance that humour is an obvious choice, as is writing for any emotional response. Maybe once the poets writing only humorous poetry grow in confidence, then they will feel able to write something without minding how the audience reacts?

Adele said...

I have to agree, playing for laughs helps build a performers confidence but I once wrote a poem that evoked sadness and the effect on my writing was profound. I had played the comedian for many years, hiding the turmoil I was experiencing behind a funny front. Interpersonally I am Joan Rivers but my poetry is someone else.

Colin Davies said...

I see nothing wrong with writing in a style. If you are a comedian you tell jokes. There is no reason in my mind why you should always experiment with difference unless you feel it coming on you.

Not reading other people's work I have to agree is rather odd. Even the Beatles listened to Bob Dylan.