The Future Of Poetry
I believe strongly in poetry. It has worked before and it will work again. It is infused in the culture of every civilization. Whether it’s the Bible, the Odyssey, or Shakespeare, poetry has been extremely popular. Today poetry lacks the prestige it once held. There are no Robert Frosts in our time and age let alone a William Shakespeare. But that will all change with one simple formula. Let me share the secret.
Give the people what they want. Note I didn’t say the editors and I certainly didn’t say other poets. I said the people meaning the masses; the everyday man or woman who make up America. In fact poetry in the form of the musical song is both extremely popular and profitable.
A song lyric is a sub genre of poetry. It has an extremely tight format. There is strict rhyming and rhythm. Also there is a chorus which features a hook. All of this is done with a small amount of lines.
What we have today in the poetry world is poems written for other poets. I heard a friend say that poetry is the only genre with more writers than readers. Why is that? I believe that poetry has lost its way. The exact reasons why this is I do not at this time care to elaborate on. But let me just say it doesn’t matter how much education an engineer has if his invention is inferior to the man who never went to college. This principle applies to the world of poetry as well.
So what makes a great poem?
Number one it has to communicate something. Why do so many people love Adele? I think the primary reason is that when she sings a song people apply it to their personal life. That they recognize in Adele’s lyrics a situation very similar to what they have faced. This is evident in how the crowd sings along, sometimes word for word with the performer. The lyrics aren’t archaic. Instead the opposite is true they are transparent, something is communicated.
Secondly a poem must deliver something when it is read. That is the language must tingle the ears in some pleasurable fashion. This is one of the primary differences between poetry and prose. Poetry is or at least should be the magical wording that entices the soul. Let’s go back to an expert, William Shakespeare. How did he accomplish his success? His poetry is written with strict rhythm and rhyme. We poets would do well to note that. Of course his presentations are enhanced with drama, metaphors, and imagery. But primarily his words sing in a captivating way when uttered.
I went to the book store the other day and looked over the poetry section. As usual it is extremely small, especially when compared to the number of poetry books out there. I noticed an author I wasn’t familiar with and picked up the book. I read one poem and placed it back down. I got nothing out of the poem.
Poems need to make people cry. Poems need to make people laugh. Poems need to make people think. Poems need to define life and give the words that others are searching for. All this needs to be done in a way where the words entice the mind. We need someone like Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, T.S. Eliot or Emily Dickenson. The community of poets needs to get back in touch with what poetry is really about.
And now in conclusion I will tell you why poetry is not as successful as it was. Writing the poetry I’m talking about takes a whole host of talent. Look at great songwriters and one would note that it is a very exclusive crowd. Am I saying no poets have talent today? Absolutely not! But they are developing themselves into writing in a complex format that by nature is cryptic. What they need is a K.I.S.S of keep it simple stupid.
With the world of publishing so wide open with self publishing and small presses a whole new generation of popular poets will arise. When I get a book review and it says something to the effect of “I don’t like poetry but I liked this book” I smile and know I’ve done my job. It is only a matter of time until poetry books will once more be popular sellers.
John Kaniecki is a native of Brooklyn, New York. While he has no memory of New York City but he is proud to call himself a native New Yorker. John spent a few years in Illinois but grew up in Pequannock, New Jersey. After graduating high school John went off to Hoboken to attend Steven's Institute of Technology.
Despite being in engineering school, John was clueless to the direction his life should take. After two years John dropped out of Steven's. He became a Christian and hitchhiked across the United States. Several months later he was hospitalized with bipolar disorder.
At this time John began to write poetry. A self published book called "A Day's Weather" shows his mind at this time. After years of struggle John eventually returned to college and graduated from Montclair State University. John went to work stocking shelves at Sears and then worked with an engineering firm. John married Sylvia Smith in 2004.
Once married John returned to writing. His writing has been published in over seventy outlets. His books are "Murmurings of a Mad Man" a book of poetry by eLectio Publishing, "Poet to the Poor, Poems of Hope for the Bottom One Percent" by Dreaming Big Publications, "Words of the Future" a collection of science fiction stories published by Witty Bard and a horror novella "Scarecrow, Scarecrow" published by Jaded Books Publishing. Just out is his poetry book called "Sunset Sonnets" published by Local Gem Poetry. Also his memoirs "More Than The Madness" that deals with his successfully coping with mental illness is soon to be published by Dreaming Big Publications.
Presently John is a full time caretaker for his wife. Also he volunteers as a missionary for the Church of Christ at Chancellor Avenue; which is in the inner city of Newark. He stays up light at night and writing in any free time in hopes of becoming a professional writer.
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