There are different kinds of poetry. There’s the Jack Prelutsky type, full of rhyming and humor and carelessness. Then there’s the intense, nature-swollen simple moment poetry of Mary Oliver. Then there is the deep sadness of Emily Dickinson.
All of these can be reflections of the poet’s soul. The heart, mind, and soul think as one, at times, and poetry allows the reader to gaze quickly through a window and see the workings of the poet’s spirit.
Sometimes you sit down at a desk and look at a blank page. You can feel the ideas and the emotions swelling up within you, clamoring to escape through your fingertips, through the pen, to the whiteness of the paper. But you can’t seem to sort through them. You can’t seem to single out one, simple little emotion and bring it out.
When I start writing a poem that I want to feel “deep” or that I feel should be “deep,” it will come off sappy or forced. It is easy to fake emotion. It is easy to draw from some other poet. Writing a love song can be done, even if you’re not in love. All you have to do is draw from your peers’ mind – take a poem, read it, experience it. This is not real. It is a contrived poem. You must feel, on your own, your own emotional power without the help of other writing.
What I do to summon the muse – to summon inspiration – is I think of something that means a lot to me. Squeeze the wet sponge of my creative mind. Think of something that I feel emotion towards, negatively or positively. I describe it. But I don’t just describe it so much as I also describe the sentiment that accompanies the thought of it. Then I enter the world of metaphors and connections of language where I reshape the words to create a beautiful portrait on paper of what I am crafting simultaneously in my mind.
There are no limitations to poetry, just as there are no limitations to creativity. There is no poetry too simple, no poetry too complicated. It is a boundless country of ponderings and dreams and emotions. And there it is again: the word emotion, because poetry is not a boring formatted inert idea but printed emotion.
Your poems could just be a mess of steaming words and confused, indescribable feelings. They could be meaningless or full of meaning. But you have to realize your poem for it to be truly heartfelt. You must have a grasp, however weak, on your subject. Once that grasp is found the window of your soul can be cracked open; once the poem is written the window can be flung wide in a glorious, bursting, shattering of screaming power of You.
I believe that poetry - soulfelt poetry - is so much more than simply the printed word. It is the unlocking of the poet’s emotions: an extension of your spirit at your fingertips. I hope I’ve led you to some insight.