In the past I have never been a huge fan or consumer of poetry. It just hasn’t captured my imagination in the way it has done for many others.
Until recently, when I was studying some of the great songwriters of this generation, and someone commented how that one of the said artists was now creating lyrical poetry. The thought gave me cause to stop and think, and I realised what fascinated me about the lyrics of these songwriters. It was that element of poetry; the specific methodical choice of words and meter. So that the lyrics become a melody of their own. So after years of having poetry books thrown at me I decided to finally give it a try, and explain why you might see some of it popping up on my socials…
Lyric poetry dates back to Ancient Greece as one of the forms of great entertainment, alongside plays and epics. It evolved through the centuries into medieval verse and, eventually, the verse of 19th century poets such as Percy Shelley and Lord Byron. What defines lyric poetry is its focus on expression of personal feelings which makes it easily comparable to songwriting. It is this aspect that has helped me the most.
The issue I have with some my own songwriting is that it can become formulaic, with the verses often becoming short and rely on rhyming couplets. Putting my songs beside examples of lyric poetry I could compare what felt the same and what was different, and what impact those differences had on me as a consumer. My thought process was, if I could write lyrics by removing the crutch (and sometimes constraint) of the tune, hopefully the end product is even more engaging than what I have written before. With that mission in mind, I began setting about writing some poetry. Initially to get the ball rolling, I went in blind with the intention just to write what I felt.
What I found was a very similar approach to my songwriting methods. Once the bulk of the poem was complete, I would return to the work and pull it apart, improving a phrase or word here and there to create more resonance. Probably breaking 100 rules of poetry, but simply as a way to allow creative juices to flow, it was the best way for me to start.
Furthermore as a positive side effect, poems don’t have to reach a certain threshold, like a conventional song does (ie three verses and a chorus). Giving myself a way of expressing thoughts, ideas and phrases that simply couldn’t stretch to a full 3 minutes. I began revisiting old half finished song lyrics put on the back burner and converted them into short poems. This has meant my creative output has gone through the roof and I am writing three-fold the amount I was last December. All because I have different forms of outlets for my ideas. Not to mention the dreaded proverb “practice makes perfect”. Unfortunately, it does, and the more I write and use creative language the easier it is for me to craft it within my work.
I plan to incorporate my poetic strand on my social media pages with the first poem below having a kind reception from my audience already.
While nowhere near good, it has been a fun exercise and it was nice to have this new feature recognised by many. From here I will impose some literary constraints to test my abilities and hopefully hone my poetry craft. Whether I continue to post my poems or simply contain them to my own ramblings time will have to tell. For my first steps into this new creative world, I am finding it wholly beneficial and expansive. I would like to gather more experience and knowledge to improve my writing so if anyone has poem or poet recommendation please drop me a line on Instagram or Facebook as I would love to hear what you enjoy out of the form.