An Unpopular Poetry Opinion
Poetry is not fiction, so don’t treat the two forms the same.
I read a decent amount of poetry. My love for this creative form of writing started in high school and has only blossomed since my teenage years. In college, I studied classical literature extensively, finding certain poets to fall in love with and others who I believed were overrated (perhaps another topic for another day.) I took many creative writing classes in college, too, and began to try my hand at poetry again and again, despite my feelings that I was never quite as good at writing in this dramatically shorter form as my classmates.
Then, my senior year of college, I took a collaborative poetry class that, to put it succinctly, blew my mind. I was exposed to different methods of writing poetry, and the delightfully nonsensical ways that poetry does, in fact, make sense. I was thrown together with other writers who were the exact opposite of me and forced to create something beautiful out of the endeavor, and it incited a new level of love for poems in my heart.
Fast forward to today, where I still write poems and serve as poetry editor for the literary magazine borrowed solace. As poetry editor, I read a lot of poems. I’ve even read poetry collections and written reviews for The Adroit Journal. I have numerous poetry collections sitting on my shelf, and just last week worked my way through the hundred or so poems submitted to borrowed solace for the next issue of our journal.
After reading so many poems, I’ve developed some opinions about what makes a good poem, and some of my opinions might surprise you. I’ve come to absolutely adore poetry and formed my own understanding of the art form, and that’s okay — art is subjective, after all.
In all my poetry reading, editing, and writing, I’ve come to hold one opinion about this form of writing that, while perhaps unpopular, is something I believe truly separates good poems and poets from the rest: poetry is not fiction.
Well, duh, you might be thinking to yourself. If it was fiction, it wouldn’t be called poetry! And yes, this is true, but there’s more to it than just the fact that poetry is not, in fact, prose (unless we’re talking about prose poems which, another unpopular opinion, I don’t…