Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pathetic Poetry

Well, I've done it! I wrote a pathetically awful poem. Actually, I wrote it a year ago and entered it in the theme category for our authors group state contest. Sometimes, writing to a particular theme results in a poem or piece of prose that feels forced.

Which is exactly the way this poem got started. It didn't come from the heart. There was no passion in it. How do I know? I subbed it to my critique group a week or so ago, and reading the crits has been an eye-opening experience. To be honest, I knew that it was pathetic before I even subbed it, and the eagle-eyed critiquers agreed.

Many of those who looked at this poem felt there was potential in it but that I hadn't come close to reaching it. Another thought it poignant and powerful, but it needed a lot of work. There were a few more positive things said, but the negatives far outweighed them.

My thought in subbing the poem to the group was to continue working on it and making it a better poem. I knew it needed some first-aid, but it seems to have ended up in the Intensive Care Unit. I think I'll put this one aside until I can have a desire to work on it again. If I do it now, it's still not going to work. And maybe this one will never get to a point where I feel good about it.

That's alright. Every single poem or story we write doesn't end up with the writer feeling satisfied. We've all written some pathetic poetry or putrid prose. You can't hit a home run every time.


  1. Don't give up. I have a three-line poem I think is absolutely the most charming, brilliant, entertaining bit of poetry ever written. It did win -- I think an honorable mention -- in a KAC competition, but other than that, it just sits in my desk -- despite its brevity, The New Yorker didn't want it, the Christmas Science Monitor Home Forum didn't want it, The Kansas City Star didn't want it . . . it's probably gotten more rejections than any other poem I ever wrote, but I still think it's beyond clever.

  2. I guess misery loves company. But at least your poem was a winner, and you're happy with it, so that's a major plus.

  3. If I tried to write poetry, I'm sure it would be a pathetic attempt. Honestly, I don't understand most poems. They seem to be a lot of beautiful words strung together with some obscure meaning I can't seem to fathom. Occasionally there is one that I actually get, and then I'm a huge fan. My cup of tea is putrid prose. I have a lot of that in my word documents. ;)

  4. Sometimes I look back at some of my earliest efforts in writing and some of it fits the "putrid prose" category very well. Wonder if we could publish an anthology called "Pathetic Poetry and Putrid Prose?"

  5. I would have plenty to contribute, but I doubt it would make the New York Times Bestseller List. ;)