Poetry is Intimidating
Personally, I find poetry intimidating. This is probably not something a poet laureate is supposed to admit. But I think that is the point of going for the position. So many of us find poetry intimidating, but we should do it anyway.
And if we are doing, it we should do it right. That means editing it several times.
A poem begins because we have this strong emotion we want to express. Our emotion is so strong that we only want to include it. Nothing else is important enough to be included.
I think for those of us that make poetry a hobby or an avocation, we take our emotions put down on paper and then try to say something in a clever way. Create a beautiful image.
It is in reworking our images and word choice, that we are poets. Poems that celebrate allow us to experience gratitude more times as we edit. Editing poems about things that make us sad allows our pain to become clay and as we work them into art, we take away pain’s power.
In other words, poetry helps us do several things
1) work through what you are feeling
2) distance yourself. You want to make it more exact in what happened, but you also take its power over you. Sort of you are only as sick as your secrets. You may never show the poem to anyone, but unless you destroy it, you are also thinking about how someone will read it.
3) Then sharing our poems allow the poet and the reader to bond. It helps us be understood. And perhaps this is mostly for the readers. I do not feel more understood by the people that read my poems in a journal because I don’t get their feedback. But I understand myself better and I believe readers can connect with a poem and feel like other people feel this way.