Over the last week or so, I have spent a fair amount of time reading contemporary poetry. Most of what I have read is what is available online and generally by already established and published poets. I have found links to the poetry by following publishing houses and other poetry related businesses on Twitter. Some of what I read was excellent and I have bookmarked it for future reference. A lot of it I am afraid to say did not appeal to me. I failed to understand what the writer was trying to say or get across.
The poems I disliked intensely seemed to me to be just long lists of big words that seemed to proclaim look at how intelligent I am, look at the extent of my vocabulary, see the clever way I can string words together. Like a lot of modern art, these poems said little else to me, they were in my view pretentious, snobbish and elitist. Or maybe it is just that I do not possess the intelligence to understand them. It is not the words used, I could understand those; I sport a fairly large vocabulary myself but tend to tone it down, as I have too many times in the past been accused of trying to “show people up” by using words they do not know or have never heard; but it was the incomprehensible way those word were put together, seemingly without meaning or intention yet those in the know had praised the poem, lauded the poet for their insight, fresh take on the subject etc, etc.. I somehow failed to see it.
I am a simple creature and I like poetry to talk to me, to make me feel something or to paint a picture. I want to be moved by a poem or to be able to visualise what the writer sees. A poem should read easily, it should roll off the tongue as beats off a drum. Sometimes they can stutter and stumble, but that is fine if it adds to the essence of the poem, if the subject of the poem is awkward then an awkward rhythm adds to it. A poem should be as fascinating and enthralling as watching raindrops race down a window pane, absorbing but with something unobtainable just out of reach, hidden behind a transparent pane of glass.
That anyway is my view, and I try to write for the simpleton in me, that does not mean I do not experiment with different forms, or that I use only straightforward language, I use what I think I need to give the reader the ability to feel or see what I feel or see. I have no idea whether or not I succeed in this and but I continue to write, and hopefully to learn and grow and improve my writing.
What do you think a poem should be? Are there any modern poets you would recommend? Please share your thoughts!