Saturday, March 26, 2011

"The cat sat on the mat"

I received a hard blow today and I must say it hurt.

Of course it's not the only one, of course it's not the worst. But it is one that shakes my little world in a very intimate way. It makes me doubt myself, hate myself, you name it.

And it's silly at the same time, of course. I'm not deluding myself, I'm an idiot for paying too much attention to this and letting it overwhelm me. But hey, I live in a very small world. Small things look bigger in a small world.

But let me take it from the beginning... Two beginnings, in fact.

  1. In school, we always had to learn poems by heart and recite them for grades. A terrible waste of time and a useless torture for small children. It was then when I dreaded seeing poems in my textbooks (or anywhere else, for that matter).
    We were also taught that we were in no way capable to ever produce such marvelous writing as the famous authors we learned about in school. We were thus made to write descriptive passages using "second-hand" metaphors and imagery. We had to read books, copy the metaphors and then use them in school essays. Another thing I loathed.
    We are always told that poetry is something beautiful, with proper rhyme and rhythm. If possible, a lot of intricate words. Essence is sometimes overlooked while swooning over form. Our national poet, Mihai Eminescu, who I only came to respect and appreciate after finishing school, said "It is easy to write verse/When you have nothing to say/Blabbering but empty words/Whose ends will sound good." (approximate translation by yours truly; the actual quatrain sounds a lot better in Romanian).
  2. I started writing poetry because of one of my former suitors from abroad. It was a long, long time ago. I noticed right away that I would either speak my mind and heart or write something with proper rhyme and rhythm. I didn't want to sacrifice meaning for form, so I added my own musicality to words and let them flow how they will. And they seemed to flow quite well. My readers (also writers themselves) were quite impressed with my pieces. And so, I wrote and wrote and wrote.
I joined an online poetry community, thinking that I would finally be able to publish my poems and get more feedback. Unfortunately, I also realised I would love to publish them in a real book. So, I didn't want to disclose too many of them.

    Long story short, they held a contest there and I hopped to the occasion of testing my skills. I participated with one of my best poems and kept reading the other entries, making sure I knew how the competition was doing.

      The contest though stretched for quite a long time and I almost forgot about it. Today, however, I got the news. Can you guess? Of course, I didn't win. A more eloquent writer was chosen. I got a "pat on the back" comment that mine was outstanding, but well, even if you stuff a hole with tissues, it's still a hole.

        So, this is what is gnawing at my mind... What makes good poetry? Rhyme, rhythm, pretty words? Or can those be sacrificed for brutal feeling and passion?


          1. I have just read this super speedily, Lavi, as unfortunately I don't have time right now, but I came to glance quickly at my blog reading list for today and, among a host of others, yours stood out, ignoring all others, I thought I'd JUST read yours and then get back to what I ought to be doing right now.

            My heart reaches out to you...please, please do not allow yourself to feel disheartened in any way! It means absolutely nothing that you didn't win this competition. It is not a judgement of your worth or talent! Keep on writing, whatever you do...write from your heart in the way you feel is right for you and just keep doing it, OK? Your time/day/hour will come, and do not overlook the fact that you were told your entry was OUTSTANDING!!!!!!

            I'd opt for brutal feeling and passion, hands down, any day!

          2. Sorry the reading material was bad and annoying today. I was just a little upset that the contest wasn't really held properly (two separate poem challenges and only one winner). Also the prize was $100.

            Thanks for the encouragement! I really should stop being silly about this.

          3. Dear Lavi,
            No, I don't think you're "...being silly about this". You're perfectly entitled to your feelings. They're valid. They're yours.
            You're disappointed, and that's understandable. Desiree put it so well when she said that the result is not a judgement of your worth or talent.
            Well done for giving it a go Lavi :D)

          4. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Lavi. I'm new here and not familiar with your poetry but I will say, as a writer (not of poetry)and teacher of writing, one has to learn to deal with rejection and/or criticism and use them as an opportunity for growth.

            Read a lot of poetry and learn from it. Keep making poetry!


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