As a publisher I receive many manuscripts consisting of poems that I categorize as verse, or “greeting card rhyme.” Some of it may be clever; most of it is mundane and ordinary. If it gives a person pleasure to write it, certainly no one should tell them not to. BUT as a poet myself and as a person who is dedicated to giving readers (and listeners) a nourishing experience, I’d like to make the following distinction:
Words that are strung together with the express intention of fitting into a mold or pattern in order to sound sweet and pretty to the ear are “candy” compared to chicken, rice, vegetables, and salad. This type of sweet writing is not good or bad; it just is.
How does one distinguish between a candy bar and plate of chicken, rice, vegetables and salad?
A candy bar is:
- Delivers temporary satisfaction
- Temporary satisfaction causes our body to crave more substantal nourishment
- Nourishing, i.e., provide nutrients the body (and soul) need for health, and wholesomeness
Poetry is the inner dance of the soul.
Rilke is right. You can only go inside in order to write your poems. You will not find your inner expression outside; this is another paradox. Just as I have advised that you write from your experience, you will write your poetry from your inner life—from your deepest feelings and where they take you on your journey toward the light, or toward enlightenment.
You choose certain words and phrases to express yourself because they have special meaning for you; they live in your memories, dreams and visions. Throughout your waking and sleeping life, they dance in your conscious and subconscious minds and are romanced by your soul. When you use them in your poems, they unite in an orgasmic explosion of feelings and thoughts.