For centuries poets have used poetry as a medium for unfeigned, heartfelt expression, and taken to the stage to dazzle audiences with mesmeric displays of oral mastery and tradition. As with all creative mediums, poetry has certainly evolved over time with poets finding a profusion of ways in which to deliver their message, and it is this versatility that has allowed poetry to stand the proverbial test of time.
Similarly, it is for this reason that it cannot be said that there is a “right” or “proper” way to write and perform poetry. The poet is entitled to share their truth in whichever manner they so choose. Whether that be a lyrical, wordplay-heavy rendition of some politically-motivated spoken word or an eloquently, well-crafted piece of purposeful prose. It’s all welcome, and any contrariwise suggestion is, well, false.
Poetry is for everyone. And no vastly limited award ceremony or circumlocutory commentary can prove otherwise. There is no definitive style or integral component with which to evince its structural integrity; and by the same token, prolificacy is not confirmation of its excellence, nor is reading off a sheet of paper or one’s phone an attestation to its lack thereof.
While contemporary poets may draw on the past for inspiration, it is indubitably apparent that each individual poet seeks to carve out a very distinguishable niche for their own body of work. The scope with which an individual enjoys success varies from poet to poet, and while it appears prominence is the appreciable yardstick for eminence, it is in the composition of these poems that greatness is truly derived.
Written by: Liam Spencer