People often say, “Write what you know.”
This stands true for many subjects, but not all – it’s the reason why writers should always do thorough research of subjects they are not personally familiar with before writing any stories or articles.
I believe there’s a good reason behind this well-known rule. Writing, especially poetry for me, at least, follows the same pattern as learning, and learning occurs in a very observable pattern as seen in the example above. Slesser, Sheila, et. al. discuss in the article Reflective Practice, the observable pattern that most people follow in learning. Most people experience something, reflect on that experience by beginning an internalized process of either fitting it into or rejecting it according to their already constructed paradigms and world-views, then, after this is completed (which often occurs almost instantly with those who are more unconscious of their own internalized, sub-conscious thought patterns,) act on the information and retain it in its processed form.
For me, poetry has always been a very experience-driven work. I only write poems when I feel something so strongly that no other type of writing, except prose, perhaps, will ease the ache of words. Every emotion that I experience at these moments, I process into what you might call “word-images.” Perhaps this happens because I’m also an extremely visual person and I see the emotions that I feel, (not visually, but in internalized conceptualizations and images – for those of you who wonder whether I see things lol.) Once those “word-images,” are complete, they almost force themselves onto paper. That’s how it feels to me: that the words must be written, or fester. How they come out onto paper is, nearly always, in rhyme. I don’t know why, so don’t ask, lol.
I once received a review of a poetry collection I wrote, criticizing the fact that all of the poetry I wrote rhymed.
I found this a very interesting review; the writer of it had the right to their opinion, after all. Yet, I wondered what, exactly, they had been looking for. Were they looking for haiku? I “can” write other forms of poetry, haiku included, but as I said, poetry, at least for me, has always been something that bleeds forcibly onto paper; it’s always based in extreme emotion. To write any other thought, or analysis-driven format of poetry, would de-intensify the emotion that the words demand. Also, if I want to write something that is more analytically based, I’ll write an essay or a book.
The critic implied that because the words in the poem rhymed, that the level of understanding of the writer herself was that of a younger individual.
I found that analysis even more interesting, but everyone has opinions!
After all, some of the most famous writers of poetry rhymed in nearly all their works! Do we judge them to be of lower intellect because of this?
In any case, I wasn’t angry at the critic. How could I be? In fact, I found the criticism interesting enough that I considered writing other formats of poetry. I eventually discarded the idea of doing so because, once again, every single time I’ve ever been driven to write anything in poetic form – I have never had a choice. The words bleed onto the page and the only thing that would alter the flow would be to put down the pen.
Sometimes, I wonder if other writers are driven by words in the same way.