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Poetry? But Why?

Some Thoughts On Why We Read, Write And Enjoy Poetry

By Mike Singleton - MikeydredPublished 11 days ago 3 min read
Image by Mike Singleton from Pixabay


These are just my own thoughts on poetry, they are not right, wrong, or definitive and you may completely disagree with me. These thoughts may be repetitions of things I have already shared on Vocal and are mainly about how I feel and execute my poetry.

Before Vocal I had written hardly any poetry for fifty years and then there was a challenge that I thought I had entered but didn't realize what the entry mechanism was so I missed out.

Since then I have written a lot of poetry, preferring formal formats to the free form preferred by Vocal moderators, but that is what suits me.

But on to the meat of this article.

So Why Poetry?

This article is not poetry, it is formal prose, and as such is the format for most written communicative articles. The nearest prose comes to poetry is in formatted or unformatted lists.

Poetry is a way of saying something, often in a shorter form than a prose article.

Formal, as opposed to freeform poetry can also look like a formatted list, not like a full article.

Having said that freeform poetry can sometimes be indistinguishable from prose until you really get into it. That has happened to me many times.

The devil in me tells me that poetry is a lazy form of creation, but I need to remind myself that sometimes I will spend hours trying to work out the right line to fit into a line with the right rhyme and the right number of syllables. Poetry can sometimes be very difficult, prose does not constrain you in the same way.

Poetry is a sort of "Less is More " scenario, while you can have epic poetry, more than usually, a poem is quite short. My preferred forms are sonnet (14 lines) and villanelle (19 lines though only 13 distinct ones due to repetition) and many forms are shorter with no rhyme constraints, just syllable or word constraints.

That is possibly the point of poetry, to constrain yourself in order to deliver a focused message.

The oriental forms Haiku, Senryū, and Sedoka require discipline but are more open to abuse than most forms on the Vocal platform. I documented them here.

When you see someone publishing twenty or thirty a day, you know the effort is not going into them. It reminds me of once when I was working waiting for a printer, and a guy was standing next to it feeding it paper for a thousand-page Bachman Diagram that he tried to impress me with. I knew he was just wasting time and paper because that diagram would be unreadable even if he put it together. My Bachman Diagrams fit on a maximum of four sheets of A4.

Poetry is a way of presenting your ideas in a succinct format. Think of limericks, they can be serious though are usually funny or silly. Some of Edward Lear's are very funny, but they were not thrown together.

I seldom do freeform poetry but in some ways, this becomes more difficult to hit the right notes than with formal poetry. I always think I am being lazy because I have no limits, I am just trying a virtual shopping list, and to change that into an interesting set of lines that grabs the reader's attention requires talent and hard work from the creator.


I chose Buddy Holly's "Listen To Me" because of the title, not the lyrics because I want you to listen to my words.

These have just been a few of my rambling thoughts on why we all write, and enjoy reading poetry.


About the Creator

Mike Singleton - Mikeydred

Weaver of Tales, Poems, Music & Love

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  • RM Stockton2 days ago

    Like you, I tend to favor more formal, rhyming poetry. It makes sense to me that it is your favored format since, like me, you are also heavily influenced by song and lyrics, which tend to rhyme. Is freeform less than poetry? Of course not, and you have not suggested that. It is no less poetry than freeform jazz is a lesser form of jazz or split pea soup is a lesser form of soup. It is just a matter of taste, and poetry adhering to more strict rules of rhyme and lyric are more palatable to some. Great stuff, as always, Mike!

  • Poetry with formats are wayyyyyy more difficult than free-form. It takes a lot of patience and skills to write formative poetry. You happen to be the master of them, especially Villanelles!

  • In fairness, sometimes a complete story will just fly from my fingertips because the inspiration is there & it flows smoothly. Other times a Haiku may take me weeks & I still might not have it quite right. Sometimes it's a simple matter of how the form fits in our heads. Certain forms may be as natural as breathing to us & then the words & creations are likely to fly. Others seem uncomfortable, unnatural to us & really push us beyond what ever thought we could do.

  • Grz Colm11 days ago

    Apt ideas on poetry. Good work Mike! 😊👍 I actually don’t know this particular Buddy song! But as usual I enjoyed listening to it here! ☺️

  • Rasma Raisters11 days ago

    You make a very good point. However, my two books of poems still did not make that great a splash. I do enjoy creating poetry and do it when inspiration strikes. I think if we keep sharing our poetic writing we might help make the imagination of others soar.

  • Great read and made me think about what I like about poetry. Thanks

  • Dana Crandell11 days ago

    I've said it before, but I admire your knowledge of and adherance to poetic forms. It's one of the reasons I enjoy reading yours. That said, I'm going to respectfully disagree on a few points, but I'm not going to go over them. If I'm less than a poet, I'm okay with that.

  • Mariann Carroll11 days ago

    Love the song choice 💗I love freeway poetry myself, because sometimes I just want to play rebel . I admire how you can write a Sonnet. I have never.

  • Mother Combs11 days ago

    great article, very informative

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