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, contrite, haughty, misses the point. Poetry is not an end but a means. Poetry is a tool, a structural element to just plain 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, and 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.

2 thoughts on “Why do you write poetry?

  1. This is one of the best explanations of ‘Why do you write poetry’ I have ever come across. Thank you.

    1. I appreciate that. Thanks.

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