A good poem is difficult to judge. Poetry starts from so many beginnings and arrives at infinite destinations. What a poem means to one person is often entirely different for another. The motives of poets are more diverse than most lifeforms.
What makes a good poem from my point of view?
I love a poem that makes me think. When the word of a poet elicits a profoundly introspective journey, I’m impressed. Often a poem I like begins in a complex forest I’ve visited before, leaving me a changed man. It takes all the complicated feelings I had in the woods and reminds me I’m not alone.
When a few carefully crafted painted words transport me to another world, it makes my heart sing. If I can see the skyline as the poet describes it and the rush of the waves as they touch my feet, my brain switches off, and there I am—words as pictures, and pictures as words dancing on the page if you will.
Poets that meet a reality I’m familiar with while taking me on a pleasurable journey are more accessible than the abstract. My early poetry is incredibly abstract. It’s not that abstract poetry can’t be good. Abstract poetry can be some of the finest poetry when peppered with imagery, but right now, I prefer connective poetry over abstract.
Timing is everything in a poem. Without a sense of meter in a poem, my mind quickly wanders away from the prose. I enjoy a light flow without a forced meter that whisks me through the lines with ease.
Most poetry doesn’t move me. It takes a compelling message to stir my soul. A poem need not be lengthy to make an impact, and more often, a short, impactful poem is better than a long-winded story with a powerful message.
Poems saturated with forms of integrity make sparks fly. On the other hand, poems soaked in opportunism make me shudder. As a poet takes current socially charged events and bakes the poem like layers on a cake, it becomes cringey.
Stories of challenged integrity where a character fights off the venom of unscrupulous types make me happy. I love seeing a good person that sticks to their principles win.
I’m not a fan of love poems. I’ve written plenty of them, but writing them is like picking small fruit from the bottom of a tree while a beautiful harvest is within reach. It’s too easy to elicit reader reactions that will do little more than plump up the ego.
Sometimes I trip over a beautiful love-centered poem that I can relate with, and in those moments, I do find beauty in them.
My muse is balance. Everything is balance, and that applies to poetry. Finding the right balance of words, meter, rhyme, imagery, punctuation, Etc., is the true essence of the art form.
Sometimes the perfect storm of words will form in my mind, and unleashing it is the only option. As the prose tumbles from my mind to the final output, the balancing act begins. It’s like my mental minions line up to critique the placement to create a valid syntax. It’s not easy to explain; I should write a poem. ♥️