A bad poem by any other name is still bad.

I write this in response to one Daniel Miriam who poetically states that poetry entails speaking your mind on what goes on in the community around you and hence every poet has literal freedom of expression because a poets’ mind is diverse and complex. I wouldn’t get into the philosophy of his argument about the poets mind being complex . I’ll only say that a hungry literal ear can detect a good piece of art from a bad one.

I agree with Daniel that as poets, we are a community and we ought to encourage each other as we build our talent. My question is, by critiquing, are we not building each other?  When I say a piece of poem is bad and a lot more work needs to be put  to better it , isn’t that positive criticism?

Yes, it is true that many poet and writers speak of their community and poetry is deeply personal. This doesn’t however; give poets freedom to speak whatever is their mind in what I can only term as an ‘unromantic fashion’. Tony Mochama once said during a literature forum, that a writer or poet is not supposed to payuka (speak carelessly) on paper. Just because a thought is in your head doesn’t mean it needs to be spoken out raw and fresh from the mind. Love your work enough to clothe it in the most plausible, awe-inspiring, breathtaking language you possibly can then bring it to us and watch out for our approbation.

Every game has its rules that it’s played by and standards have to be met. So, dear poet, speak your mind yes, tell us of what you feel. But for pete’s sake do your research, go through your work a number of times, edit ad re-edit it, get insight on the same from others and then stand up and give us a poem or a  spoken word piece that has come of age.

 

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