I always feel a little self-conscious and embarrassed when I tell people that I write poetry in my free time.  When you think about it, ‘poetry’ is a pretty loaded word.  The first image that pops in my mind is a shakespearean image of a mustached man with a frilly collar and ink quill writing love sonnets.  The second image that pops in my mind is the modern hipster subculture of poets who meet up in underground speakeasies to share political slam poems and snaps.  For the most part, people think that poets are a bunch of snobs.  I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I can tell you that poetry is something completely different to me.

The thing I hated about poetry growing up was analyzing it for things like meter, alliteration, and consonance.  I thought that poetry was supposed to be about expressing yourself creatively, but apparently the more important thing was following a weird and distinct set of rules.  The rules are why I stopped writing poetry for a long time.  A few years ago, however,  I had this realization that I didn’t need to be a hipster or mustached aristocrat to write poetry.  I could just break the rules and be me.  Most of my poems are sing-song rhyming types of poems that would certainly be looked down on by the poetry community.  The reason I like writing these types of poems, though, is that they’re the perfect medium to connect my unnecessarily complex adult life with the simplicity of childlike wonder.  The fact that ‘real’ poets wouldn’t like my work makes me all the more confident that I’m doing something right.  I’m not writing to be liked or fit in, I’m writing to be me.

What I’m trying to say is that it’s okay to break the rules sometimes.  Actually, I think it’s preferable.  Just please don’t end up in jail …


Life and Matt

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