|Cover of And Still I Rise|
Very few situations are quite as absorbing as trying to push a poem in a voice not exactly your own.
It is not so much a question of losing touch with your creation, as it is a moment of transmutation; stepping outside your consciousness into the mind of the other. Leaving behind all you are and have been and striving to define the essence of the individual, unique and quite different from you.
The very first time I read Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise”–I was in high school at the time and barely knew the poet–I was emotionally charged up by the boldness of the poet and the audacity of the words she picked for her poetry. Several years later, I discovered online a collection of poems written by Maya Angelou. The mentioned poem was a part of the collection. The opportunity of knowing Maya and her style of poetry better was a genuine pleasure. Poems spawn out of the bitter experiences from years of slavery and inner turmoil and the sweeter days of hope fulfilled.
Maya Angelou’s situation is unique and so is her style of poetry. She writes about stuff she experienced on first-hand basis. On the other hand, let’s take a look at Coleridge’s “Ancient Mariner;” a reader who takes this poem literally as Coleridge’s personal experience would have himself in a terrible fix. Probably, end up beat up by the magnitude of the mystery it evokes. Although, he wrote it in first person POV, nonetheless Coleridge wasn’t bound in chains and shipped off to the tank for writing his masterpiece.
So must a poet not shirk the responsibility which calls him out of himself and all he stands for to take possession of the voice and feelings and beliefs of the other. And thereby, craft a material which is exclusively detached from anything he believes in.
The interpretation of a poem may hinge on a poet’s personal experiences or it may not. Poets must not restrict themselves by writing poems that ain’t offensive. Many “hate-poems” are misidentified by individuals who classify these poems because they confuse the voice of the poet persona for the voice of the poet. Take for example a horror-themed poem written in the POV of a psycho. You expect such a verse to be hate-filled.
Apparently, what the poet/reader both need is a little education; the poet can view his world through the eyes of whichever character he is pleased to view it. Remember this every time you write or read a poem. It would be way easier to embrace the message whatever it might be.
Remember, NaPoWriMo 2013 comes up in April from 1 through 3o. It’s 30 poems in 30 days, baby!
This is possibly my last post for the month of March. I need to set myself up for the poetic odyssey come April. See you at NaPoWriMo!
Keep your poem bleeding!