Friday 9 March 2012

Why poetry makes a great subject to blog about

Compass, champagne corks, and straws

Everyone has their own choice of weapons with which they face the world and cut it into manageable portion sizes.  Mine happens to be poetry, what’s yours?  I grew up thinking of reading as an arsenal against the world as well as a champagne cork to pop at every celebration.  And poetry is the straw and also the compass I clutch at as I drift through life’s vast oceans.

So, does poetry make a good subject for a blog?  Yes, it does and here are my 5 top reasons:

 Brief and punchy

The first tip that an expert gives a newbie is to keep it brief, between 300-1000 word count for each blog post. Well, what else can make a point as pithily as a well turned quatrain? One of Shakespeare’s famous sonnets totes up less than 120 words, and you could probably edge in a poem of epic proportions at a word count of 1000. Like this one for instance.  Poetry fits into the pared down précis world of 420 word counts and 140 characters like nothing else can. Here's another example.


Poetry deals with themes that are always in demand – love, sex, hormones, happiness, loss, grief, mindfulness, spirituality, beauty, humour, work and play, you name it, there’s a poem about it.  And you could always add your own take on each of them, they’re not likely to go out of fashion anytime soon.  Poems and rhymes encapsulate the collective wisdom and “how to .... in 3 steps” for a vast range of subjects.  In short and sweet verses, just the right byte size to nibble at during a coffee break.  Intense but short attention-span reading.  Nothing quite like it.

Convulse the SE’s now, go on

Strangely enough, traffic and search terms need not have anything remotely to do with the actual content that’s written, only the labels and headers that the SE’s can pick up on their radars. For instance, someone may have written a perfectly innocuous and deeply profound poem about a war-ravaged topsy-turvy world and then called it “The Second Coming”; and no guesses on how the SE’s gleefully O that for the kind of search terms that make toes curl.  Or your blood curdle, alternatively.  But hey, that gets the traffic moving, right?  Poetry has a lot of potential that way.

Bring them on!

How many people do you know that are voracious readers? Oh, loads of course.  Okay great, now how many of these people bought a book of poems in the last year?  None, or maybe a couple, right? Poetry is simply not a wildly popular genre as compared to the rest.  It’s a small niche, and as more and more poets find recognition and publishers, there are ever more books competing for the attention of the same readership.  The Internet on the other hand is a cost effective and far-reaching medium.   There is no reason for readers to avoid creative writing on the net, if good content is available online.  In fact, it can be used to broaden and create new readers as well.  So yes to blogging the poetry, no to rigidly sticking to just one method. 

Lo salt alternative

One thing I keep hearing is that how I shouldn’t take everything I read on the net as gospel truth. 

“Don’t take it seriously, a large pinch of salt is a mandatory addition,“ my more net savvy friends tell me with raised and wagging fingers, ”Just because a page has a half a million views a month doesn’t make the information accurate.” 

“Lies, damn lies and statistics, most of ‘em,” another one tells me, “Check the sources.” 

Really? I always thought people went to the net for information, Google being the modern day Jeeves, no? 

“What are you, insane? Only .gov and .this, .that and .other are reliable, the rest is bs.” 

Well, a poem does not convey facts and since it's imaginary there need not be any disclaimers about accuracy or the lack thereof.  Writing a poem doesn’t require reams of research, and reading it doesn’t require you to be on some information red-alert either.  It only needs for one side to feel it and be able to communicate, and the other side to read it and enjoy it.  Easy write, easy read.  No salt or seasoning mandatory.  Read it, shut it, forget it.  Or not, as you like.