Why do you write poetry?

The question why is always loaded, especially when it deals with poetry. The inquirer always expects a lofty response:

“I write poetry to satisfy my muse…”
“I must write poetry, it comes from my soul…”
“Poetry is the true language…”

To me, any answer like this, or anything flowery, trite, haughty, misses the point. Poetry is not an end but a means. Poetry is a tool, a structural element that is part of just plain old writing. It provides a framework to

isolate

Or maybe

juxtapose elements that need
juxtaposition to show some
similarity

When looking at line breaks, line lengths, stanzas, really focus on the reason. Does it add to the meaning or is the line
break simply random to
make the writing look or
sound like poetry?

Poetry isn’t divine, or pure, or mystical, nor is it just chopped up prose. It is a lyrical, metrical, content-driven building block.

So my answer to “Why do you write poetry?” is pretty simple: I use poetry if the piece requires it. I use poetry to bring meaning and interest to my writing.

So use your poetry for a good reason.

Don’t make poetry the reason.

fishbones

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