Friday, November 2, 2007

Everyday Poetry is Poetry Every Day

I realized on the bus yesterday that there has been a shift in my writing over the past year or so. I’ve begun to write “everyday” poems. By everyday poems, I mean that they are inspired by my daily life and they recognize the poetic in that life. This is a huge change for me.

When I was in college and grad school, a poem had to have meaning. It had to have a political rhetoric or a deep significance to my childhood or my Identity As A Woman, or some such. Now, I believe that type of writing still has its place, but quiet frankly, I’ve exhausted that route. There’s only so much I can write about those heavy topics. So instead, I’ve transitioned to writing about my domestic, work, and interior lives.

Part of this has definitely been inspired by the quantity of writing I’ve been doing. I’ve been lucky enough to be inspired by several good prompt sites, including the dearly departed Poetry Thursday, Writers Island, Totally Optional Prompts and the soon-to-be fabulous read. write. poem. With these three current sites, I have three opportunities to write poems per week. And those poems can be inspired by something as simple as what I experience every day.

In grad school, one of my teachers called these “out the window” poems. She said this while talking about Cornelius Eady’s first book. There are a lot of political heavy poems about race in this book, but then there are just poems where he looks out the window and records what he sees. I didn’t understand the significance of this type of writing until now. I gravitated towards heavy political poems because they were Important. It seemed almost too mundane, just to write about what happened in my real life. But that’s all the fodder I have now, and I like where it’s taking my poetry.

Maybe it’s the Donald Revell talking, but I think that poetry may be about the act of noticing, rather than the idea I’m trying to convey.


Paul said...

I write "everyday" poems too. :-)I call mine "snapshots".

Jo said...

I was political until I had children....I still have the same thoughts, I am just more often writing about my tiny sphere (for good or bad). For me, becoming a mother has equalled introspection rather than exposition. It's something which troubles me on some levels but I figure I was a megaphone for many years, now I can be a little quieter.

Jessica said...

Paul -- I love the snapshot concept. They do feel like poetic snapshots when you read them and write them.

Jo -- it's interesting that it took children for you to simmer down. :) Although, I still think some of your writing is political, if not overtly so. There is a place for subtlety, right?