Poetry from The Well

Don’t Speak (To Me About My Poetry)

“Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud.”

-Hermann Hesse

I don’t like to talk about my writing, and I imagine I’m not alone with this sentiment.

There’s something unbearably grating about hearing the words or phrases I tediously chose and listened to as a trickling creek in my head, over and over, uttered aloud unexpectedly. Curious eyes watching me, waiting for me to explain myself. Hearing a line of my writing repeated in speech is not music to my ears. It’s a sack of potatoes on my chest.

If I could easily explain what a poem means, I wouldn’t have had to write the poem in the first place.

If you don’t understand my poem, perhaps I didn’t write it well, or you couldn’t connect with it or construe your own meaning. (Maybe you didn’t try hard enough (*devious smile*)).

I’m not sure why I react so strongly when someone wants to discuss my writing, particularly the poetry. I like to believe, perhaps fancifully, that writing something and sharing it is enough. Then it’s up to the reader to do what they will with it.

At the heart of the matter is probably tension over feeling a loss of intimacy or privacy that I’ve entrusted my poem to deliver to my reader. It’s a little bit of myself that I’ve shyly wrangled into words to share. It’s a release, a rain shower to cool things off — it’s the thing that lies behind that one shadow in my mind.

Sometimes I wish I could suck a poem back inside,  Dementor-style.


One thought on “Don’t Speak (To Me About My Poetry)

  1. I sorta get where you’re coming from. It depends on the poem though. Some i am comfortable talking about. But a lot of my poems are very personal to me. I see poetry and storytelling as a way for me to get things out that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to express. It’s a safety. It sort of maintains that small bit of anonymity so I can be more truthful and real. I like poetry because it is generally viewed as an art form that doesn’t demand an explanation. 🙂

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