Among the many things I've been thinking about through reading 'How to be a Poet' (Nine Arches Press) (see also earlier post 22/1/18) - is the potential gap between writer and reader - a gap of understanding or preference - or a failing of writer or reader. I'm aware that it has made me insecure at times, both as writer and reader. I started to play with the idea:
I wrote a poem about love.
You hated it.
I wrote a poem about strength.
You said it was weak.
I wrote a poem about sickness.
You hoped I got better.
I wrote a poem about you.
You said I should keep the 'I' out of my poems.
I wrote about my uncertainty.
You said I was getting cocky.
I stopped writing.
I flipped it to see what happened:
You wrote a poem about love.
I hated it.
You wrote a poem about strength.
I said it was weak.
You wrote a poem about sickness.
I hoped you got better.
You wrote a poem about me.
I said you should keep the 'I' out of your poems
You wrote about your uncertainty.
I said you were getting cocky.
You stopped writing? I stopped reading?
I took the 'I' out:
He wrote a poem about love.
She hated it.
He wrote a poem about strength.
She said it was weak.
He wrote a poem about sickness.
She hoped he'd get better.
He wrote a poem about her.
She thought he was taking the mick.
He wrote a poem about his uncertainty.
She said he was a loser.
He stopped writing? She dumped him?
Amazing how big the gap can be between people. Amazing how things can change when you play with words. And for real advice, see How to be a Poet.
Postscript. It occurred to me that this blog could be taken too seriously. I also like the idea of adding 'He dumped her' to the last set of options. I should add that nothing written here represents the views of the authors of How to be a Poet. Or is in any way sensible advice on reviewing one's own or other people's poetry.