What’s in a Poem and Who Cares?


There’s no money in poetry because most of my neighbors, and most of yours, don’t have any use for it.
~ Ted Kooser (The Poetry Home Repair Manual)

Kooser’s assertion could be expanded to include
family, friends, and acquaintances.

Anyone who has attempted poetry knows the former
poet laureate’s observation is true. However, there is
an element of poetic freedom intimated by his remarks.
The poet is liberated to write what and how he or she pleases.
Free to chart one’s own course, independent of the lurking
grammarian with whetted pen, the local self-proclaimed
literary critic, or the meddler who would rewrite
everyone’s poems if granted license.

But yet poets at all levels of talent would like to
have someone read or hear their poems and react.
Individuals participate in poetry group sessions,
guilds and societies, readings and workshops,
read a poem or two, evoke a few ahs, ums, and
thoughtful nods of affirmation from fellow poets.
Some will engage in discussions of the poem’s themes,
forms and presentations — possibly acknowledge the
works of peers that are original and meaningful, of worth.

Most poets pen their verses with the knowledge that
the audience for their work is small, at best they might
expect a few favorable comments here and there —
but nonetheless, captured by the art, undeterred,
they write, transfer thoughts to the page.

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This Poems Story

Most poets have few who might be interested in their poems.