How I Nearly Lost My Love Of Writing Poetry

poetryI love reading and writing just seemed to be a natural extension of that. As a student of literature I’ve had numerous experiences with great writings, brilliant professors and excellent English Literature courses. Unfortunately, by the time I completed my bachelor’s degree in Literatures in English I could no longer write – anything. All that was left to me was writing in my diary.

The main reason for this was a  creative poetry writing class that I took in my sophomore year.

My professor, Mr. Brown is an archaic poet – and friends with the Caribbean noble prize winner for Literature, Derek Walcott. Mr. Walcott is without a doubt a brilliant poet, however I am generally not a fan of his ostentatious dated European style of writing. While I appreciate his work and I enjoy reading the structured meters of classical poetry; I have no desire to write like that. This was something that my professor just could not understand. He turned the simple joy of writing into a – writing by number methodology of strict iambic pentameters and the like.

My professor is also an arrogant self-important man who hated to be challenged. All qualities that are like red flags to the raging bull of my personality. So of course – we did not get along and I ultimately failed his course – which was most distressing since I had failed no other course. The man even had the nerve to suggest that I should concentrate on writing prose as poetry was not for me. When I say ‘suggest’ I mean that those were his exact words.

I tried not to let it affect me but it did and I had not written another poem, since that incident/course – until a few weeks ago, when I started to write this blog. Just the act of writing reminded me of just how much I enjoyed writing poetry. For me poetry doesn’t have to be written in a specific style.

I write poetry primarily  for oration and it is influenced by the rhythm of my speech.

My poetry is therefore what I like to call “an expression of feeling in stylized speech” 🙂 It doesn’t have to be “good” it’s personal. It is inspired by my realities and my dreams – and to think that I nearly let that man destroy that for me *sigh

Question: Aren’t teachers suppose to guide and direct, not browbeat and bamboozle?


2 thoughts on “How I Nearly Lost My Love Of Writing Poetry

  1. Man, can I relate to this. I’m busy completing a BA in languages and literature. This semester is the second time we have to hand in portfolio’s and the lecturer just doesn’t get my work. She misses the symbolism, misses the fact that some of the poems are written as answers to her questions (to display specific techniques) and in some cases want to change my poetry so much that the core meaning goes missing.

    When I write a poem everything from the form to the title has function, and I sometimes use deceptively simple ideas to represent complicated things. Her response to this was that my explanation of my poem has more substance than the poem itself. Doesn’t the explanation of what a poem means always have more substance than the poem itself? She willy nilly changes the form of my poem, switches important words around, and once, in a short story about a serial killer that only murders people called Sarah, told me it was too big of a coincidence that the final possible victim is also called Sarah.

    Sometimes you can only facepalm and move on.


    1. oh wow lol – sigh

      but that’s just it – isn’t it – poetry, writing etc are at their base subjective. While we have a few rules about form, techniques and overall structure set down – we still have to allow people to use these tools in ways that supports their own creative undertaking.

      English teachers have a way of trying to force us into some kind of mold and it’s very annoying – sigh

      Bob I say continue to work on what you do – take her advise to heart though and get a second and a third opinion. I have a rule of thumb – I don’t rely solely on a teacher’s opinions anymore – but I do try to get at least 3 completely different and experienced opinions. They say if at least 3 completely different opinions are the same then that collective opinion is probably right.


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