Ever since the seventh grade when it was demanded that I “take this kiss upon the brow,” I have possessed an undeniable devotion to poetry. You see, writing has always been my medium of choice when it comes to self expression (unlike dance and painting – my other outlets, writing can be done anywhere, anytime). Poetry always served me best because it allowed me to write free of inhibition. Stories demanded plot arcs, climactic revelations, and surprise cliffhanger endings (it was a dream!) all welded by the strength of a hero. Articles demanded exposure, fact, and an authoritative tone that I never seemed to possess. And essays, well, they reveled in the five paragraph format with meticulous, I-read-this-five-times, proofread punctuation.
Poetry freed me of all of this restraint. A poem can have one or one hundred characters, ranging from a forgotten lover to the sound of the leaves in fall. It can be written entirely free of punctuation or even a title if that is what the author decides. A poem about a flower can actually be written in the shape of a flower, using metaphor for the petals and scattering alliteration along the stem. Poetry demands nothing of its writer except creativity.
As a young teen I also used to favor diaries, an adolescent storage space for my secret thoughts (which at that time consisted of a crush on my science partner and my dislike of my Spanish teacher’s shoes). Yet, the company of an over-curious brother and my tendency to misplace things made this a difficult possession. Poetry, with its linguistic freedom that implores the use of metaphor and simile, offered me abstraction. I once wrote an entire poem about a family member, which he accidentally read and never even knew he was its primary subject because I compared him to an apple (thank you, Sylvia Plath). There you have it, poetry = abstraction. Poetry allows me to disguise my writing so that I can write freely, releasing my mind and creativity.
Poetry is not only my confidante, but also my greatest representative, ensuring that I appear graceful, eloquent and well-composed at all times. To give you an example, say one day I get really mad at my friend because she keeps borrowing my clothing without asking and always ruins whatever she borrows, I might want to vent about my anger by writing down what and how I feel. A diary entry might produce something like: “Dear diary, I don’t know why Jessica keeps borrowing my clothes without asking. I have told her a billion times not to borrow my clothing because she NEVER takes care of it. Next time she does it I swear I am going to scream for an hour.” An article might consist of Ten Things Your Friends Do That Really Piss You Off. Both make me appear brash and dramatic, but not poetry. With its offerings of various writing techniques, decorated language and obscurity, poetry manages to keep me sounding eloquent and thoughtful when writing about even the most irritating of subjects. On this same topic of my friend borrowing my clothing, poetry might produce something like: “You snatch away the habitants of my closet with secrecy in your glide, I know when the fabrics have been yours for you decorate them with holes and remnants of last night’s dinner”. I could even express myself through a short haiku: Don’t take my clothing. / You put holes in the fabric. / Is that my sweater?
Poetry is an excellent way to vent and has gotten me through some rough points in my life. From family problems, to tearful goodbyes, to stress at school, stanzas, quatrains, metaphor, have allowed me to gently and thoughtfully express myself and cope in a way that was comfortable, creative and even therapeutic. That is not to say that poetry is reserved only for darker moments. In reverse, poetry is actually one of the ways to record happy memories and to project dreams for the future. I have written countless poems about unforgettable trips I have gone on, happy romances and long lasting friendships, when compiled create an almost literary photo album of my life, that I can always look back on if I want to smile.