Old Poetry

Some of you will have read my hilariously bad teenage fiction, The Legend of Catherine of Gawthwate – I’ll be the first to hold up my hand and say I’ve written some real tripe in the past. Especially the poetry. I haven’t written much poetry, and of what I have even I would say that at least half of it is awful. But I find it almost impossible to get emotional distance on it. And I’ve never found critique groups all that helpful for it. People either say they like it or they don’t.

I did come runner-up in a poetry competition once, but I’ve never really regarded it as my forte. I write novels and short stories because I can’t not do those things and I think about them all the time. Poetry… once in a blue moon inspiration strikes and I write something. It’s either awful or it isn’t.

Whilst looking for one of my better pieces to quote on Tumblr, I stumbled across some poems I wrote the last time I felt the call to poetry (quite some years ago now). I was very depressed at the time – much more so than I am now – and most of the subject matter is pretty angsty, some of it laughably so. But some of it actually looks quite good. Like I was working through something and capturing something relevant.

But I don’t know if it’s actually good. I wonder if it’s worth putting some of it online, but it’s deeply personal – do I want other people reading it if it’s not actually good?

Should I post it here? Should I consider submitting it somewhere and await my rejections? I’ve never done more than enter the odd competition, with poetry. All I know from my poet friends is that it’s a tough market.

What are your thoughts, people? Do you write poetry? What do you do with it? how do you self-assess whether it’s any good. Is it enough to find that, seven years on, you still like it? Do you only write poetry for the innards of your word processing machine? Have you been published? If so, where and how did you go about it? I’m curious…

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