I used to write poetry a lot. And I mean a lot.
Back in college, in
I still write poetry, but most of it is in the form of song lyrics. There are those who would separate those two into different camps. There are songwriters that say that poems can’t be lyrics, and poets that think that song lyrics are simply strings of clichés. And, by the definitions in their own minds, they’re both right. In my mind, however, they are inseparable. A song is merely a poem written with certain rules of form and structure.
That does mean, however, that a good song should be much more “poetic” in its use of imagery and a good turn of a phrase.
Both, however, should be clear. One of my biggest gripes with both the poets I read and the songwriters I listen to is that they both seem to think, as I used to, that obscurity is the epitome of artistic expression.
If I don’t get it, you failed to communicate.
Today, I found a website that’s dedicated to poetry that reflects these values. It’s published by, no surprise, Orson Scott Card. The site is http://strongverse.org, and their slogan is “Great Poetry is meant to be understood, not decoded.” In their submission guidelines is the following rule: “If your poetry can only be understood by you or your close group of friends, share it with them.”
That’s so cool. I wish more mopey, angtsy, sappy “alternative” songwriters would do that…