I was pleased to answer the below questions regarding my views on poetry, which where posed by Olivia Emily of LibroLiv.
Answers to questions posed by Olivia
1. Do you think that the internet influences the content of modern poetry?
Yes and no. Events which would have received little publicity in the past are featured online for anyone with an internet connection to read about. So, for example a poet may read about a little known civil war (of which he would have been unaware prior to the birth of the internet) and pen a poem about it.
The world of blogging (for example WordPress) sees bloggers asking their followers to write a piece on a given topic (I.E. a prompt). Some individuals respond to this and by so doing perhaps tackle subjects, via poetry and other means which they might otherwise not have engaged with.
Other writers will confine themselves to purely personal experiences and the content of their work will not be influenced by the online world. For instance a poet may confine himself (or herself) to composing poems about nature and family life and give little (or no attention) to what appears on the internet.
2. Do you think that the internet influences the structure of modern poetry?
I don’t know. One criticism levelled at the internet is it’s tendency to “dum down” by pandering to the desire of many in the online community for easily digestable “bite sized” pieces of information/short stories/poetry etc. Possibly some poets are influenced by the desire to appeal to this segment of the online community. Certainly there are Twitter poets out there who deliberately aim to keep their work within the limit set by Twitter. Some of this Twitter poetry is, in my view, good while some is mediocre or poor.
3. Do you think poetry written in a specific form is conservative? Is traditionally structured poetry holding back a new wave of modern, more liberal
Poetry composed in a traditional manner may still express liberal/radical views.
Being told that one must write in such and such a manner (whether that be in rhyming couplets or free verse) is restrictive of the poet’s freedom. Poets can (and do) find their own, unique voice both through rhyming verse and free modes of expression.
One could argue that there is a prevailing dogma that poetry should be written in non-traditional ways, with rhyming poetry being out of favour and being considered as “old fashioned”. Anyone who adheres to the view that rhyming poetry is “old hat” and should be discouraged is, in my view doing a disservice to the craft as are those who insist that “proper” poetry must rhyme. Poetry is a broad church and there is room for many different forms.
4. “Poetry’s meanings are embodied, and complicated by form.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement?
To me a poem’s fundamental meaning is derived from the language/symbolism utilised by the poet, rather than from the form in which the work is expressed. Having said that, sticking rigidly to a particular form may impact adversely on what the poet is trying to convey. For instance a poet who sticks religiously to ensuring a poem rhymes throughout may (by forcing a rhyme where no rhyme should properly be) mar the beauty of the poem and/or lose the essence of what he is trying to convey. It is better to sacrifice a rhyme and by so doing clarify the poem’s meaning than force a foot into a shoe that doesn’t fit and mangle meaning.
5. Do you write with a specific form in mind?
Most of my poetry is written in rhyme. However I will not force a rhyme where no rhyme should properly be.
6. What has your experience with publishing poetry been like? Do you think the publishing of poetry has changed since the internet became more commonplace?
Most of my poetry appears on my website (at present I have, including Twitter followers approximately 2 thousand six hundred followers). I have also produced several poetry collections which are all available in the Amazon Kindle store. Anyone can publish on Amazon and the process is straightforward. Most readers find me via my blog and a few via my Youtube channel.
Prior to the birth of the internet much writing (poetry and other kinds, for example short stories) would have remained in a drawer unseen or only viewed by family and close friends. A few people went down the road of self publishing in print, however, prior to the internet this was very expensive. The internet has democratised the literary scene as anyone with an internet connection can now put their work out there. Getting it noticed/read is, however a rather different matter.