Poetry and personal blog – Spilling my guts to strangers

(In this guest post, writer/poet/photographer Jeffrey A. Scott** whets our palates with samples of good poetry, including his own. Enjoy this piece, and please leave a comment!)

I was recently asked what sort of poetry I preferred. It’s an interesting question, but kind of like asking what sort of food I preferred. Not an easy thing to do when you enjoy a wide variety. And like food, some poetry can be liked by one person, and despised by another. Perhaps the better question would have been, what are my favorite varieties of poems and why? And what are a few examples?

Well, I’m glad you asked.


Standard Poetry

This is the type of poetry a typical, non-poetical person thinks of
when you say “poem.” It’s a simply written, rhyming piece; such as the
following:

Trees
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
–Joyce Kilmer

Descriptive Poetry
Poems can also express how one is feeling at any given moment. The character Rita from the film “Groundhog Day” was disgusted by Phil’s egotism and gluttony. She finds the best way to describe how she feels is to quote partially from the poem “Breathes There The Man.”  Read this excerpt and see if you can tell how she’s feeling:

Breathes There The Man

The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.
–Sir Walter Scott

Humorous Poetry
Sometimes poets just want to make you smile. If you think about it, a lot of Dr. Seuss’ books are written in a poetic style. Or take the “Owl Critic” by James Thomas Fields. Surely, it stresses a point, but it’s funny nonetheless.

When I was much younger and first started writing poetry, I did so to be funny. The following is an early poem parody I wrote. Can you guess the poem it parodies?

Bees
I think that I shall never see
an insect lovely as a bee.
A bee whose hungry mouth is pressed
against honey, second rate at best.
A bee that can’t see all day
because to many eyes are in the way.
A bee that may in summer wear
A risky yellow – people stare.
Upon whose belly honey has lain
and sticks to windows on the train.
Parodies are made by fools like me
but only honey comes form the bee.
–J.A.Scott

Making A Point
I first started taking poetry seriously in high school when we were required to read and comment on what different poems meant. The following poem quickly became a favorite as I always felt invisible to everyone else. It was almost as if the poet was writing directly to me:

I’m Nobody!
I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us–don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
–Emily Dickinson

Embrace the Dark Side
I’m a person who has always embraced my emotions, both positive and negative. So reading some thought-provoking or ominous poems can be
enjoyable. Many have read “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe. It’s one I quite enjoy. Death is a part of life, and Poe captures the imagery of such quite fantastically, even as he’s driven insane. It’s certainly worth a read.

In my endeavor to be a well-rounded writer (and to prove I’m more than just a jokester), I’ve tried my hand at writing poems of a darker nature. I’ve included one I recently did and am quite proud of. I hope you think so too. It certainly tells a story.

And Then…
It was a quiet and lonely night
As I closed my eyes in thought
Feeling the rush of wind on my face
And then I was scared no more
I was calm and my body went limp
Remembering the joy of youth
All was safe and I was happy
And then I remembered school
I was awkward and dysfunctional
But my friends were just as much
We were ready to take the world
And then I remembered Melinda
Had an embarrassing crush on her
She was my love and desire
But it was false and unrequited
And then I remembered Mary
Our wedding was delightful
Found someone who wanted me
Willing to give her all I could
And then realized it was a scam
And then I remembered all the fights
And then I remembered when she left
And then remembered what I had done
And then I hit the ground
–J.A. Scott

So what sort of poetry do you prefer? Ooops, sorry. What varieties of poetry do you like, and which are you partial to?

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
— from “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll

**Jeffrey A. Scott hails from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Writing and photography have been his passion since childhood. In addition to having a photography and poetry blog, Jeffrey also runs a Doctor Who-themed blog and a Biggest Loser blog.

Twitter: @Jeffrey__Scott
Poetry/Photography blog: Jeffrey Scott
Doctor Who Blog: T.E.G.A.N.
Biggest Loser Blog: Carrot Sticks and Cottage Cheese
Fan Page: Jeffrey Scott

© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2011

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Comments on: "Poetry–Which Varieties Do You Enjoy?" (20)

  1. Ah, what a super post! Glad to have stumbled upon it. You are discussing something I have often pondered but never put into words. I feel you have neglected an important category though: beat poetry. Ginsberg’s “Howl” is one of the greatest works of poetry in my opinion. William Carlos Williams is also amazing.

    However, of the categories you have described, I would have to go with descriptive. A sentiment, felt by all, beautifully expressed, can stay with you long after you finish the poem.

    I am looking forward to perusing more of your posts! 🙂

    • Beat Poetry, good call. Unfortunately I was not cover a lot of poetry. I know I could have written a post 10 times longer and still not covered a lot of poetry angles. Glad you appreciated the post.

  2. Love this post, Jeffrey. Your post really brings home the point that there is something for everyone. Your poem, “And Then” is quite the emotional journey–life flashing before someone’s eyes. Plus there is the mystery of what is left unsaid. Thank you so much for guesting!

    • Thanks you for letting me guest. It was fun preparing and presenting. As both of the poems of mine I included shows, I like to write in a vast diversity of genres. Words are like paintings to me.

  3. Wonderful post! I personally don’t have one variety of poetry that I enjoy over another. I am very poem specific….I have enjoyed both Sweepy’s work, and I have enjoyed yours as well and the connection is that you both consistantly put out quality work in my opinion. Of the “famous” poets, I really can’t name one that is a go to over another…it depends I guess on what I am looking for in the moment. Wonderful article, Jeffrey! Thank you Sweepy for having him here!!

  4. I like how you have categorised the poems along with your own verses and parodies.

    Lewis Caroll’s poems are a favourite of mine – clever and whimsical.

  5. Jeffrey,
    Excellent post. Enjoyed examples of the varieties of poetry though, as you replied to the first comment, there are so many that it would be impossible to include all in this one post. I was going to say I prefer Descriptive poetry, but then I realized that I prefer the “Embrace the Dark Side” variety that reaches deep into me. However, poetry I love may be either a combination of varieties or another variety such as T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland” or Octavio Paz’s “Sunstone”. Darkly Descriptive?

    • I’ve found reading ‘dark’ poetry is an excellent way of self-discovery of the mind. It gets your emotions going, your thought process working harder and hones your empathy. But then again, I find there are positives to be found in reading all varieties of poetry.

  6. Yes, what a wonderful post. I never thought about the classifications. I know when I am reading something if I love/like it our would rather drink caster oil than read the remaining verse. For a poet on training wheels, I loved the examples ( and printed).

  7. Thanks for your input. True, there have been some poems I’ve also found hard to read/finish. But not so surprising. There are many TV shows, films, books I’d rather not spend my time with. Poetry is no different. And that’s what makes poetry just as great a medium as anything else. The diversity and complexity of it all.

  8. A great post! As English is not my mother tongue, I tend to read poetry in French. And guess what: the categories would be the same. Maybe poetry is universal.
    I don’t know what I prefer: I tend to like a poem because it resonates with something in me, whatever the category. Poetry seems to speak to a different part of my brain!

  9. Jeffrey, I really enjoyed this post. I read it this am and thought about though out the day. I found it interesting because while I enjoy poemin’ …read: word slinging….I wouldn’t know a sonnet from Sunday bunch. That said, I won’t cop to a pedestrian pallet when it comes to poesy. I likes what I likes. And I likes grits.

    But your way of codifying poems as types of missives as opposed to cataloging as technique made me rethink my concept of that aforementioned “word slinging.”

    Wanna thank you for that.

    Regards,
    Doug

  10. loved this one,its just pure knowledge…

  11. Hi Jeffrey, sweet to meet you. And your poetry. “And Then” resonates, especially the lines “
    And then I remembered school
    I was awkward and dysfunctional
    Beautiful stuff. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your world.

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