A poem was posted in my poetry Facebook group this week, it was intensely violent, in a “Kill Bill” kind of way.
That poem brought on a full debate in the group about writing dark materials. Better yet, let's call it: Channeling the dark side.
It was an important debate, and here, today, I will give you highlights of the topics and the conclusions.
Some people prefer not to share the dark materials they write. Some feel that when they do share those, they are being misunderstood by their readers.
Those readers are often friends of the poet. Out of the good intentions of their heart, friends interpret a painful poem as a cry for help. While actually, the poet was not crying out for help, but merely channeling their strong feelings into writing.
Take my friend, Poetess Greta Stone. I know her style, writing about sex, and even much of the time, violent sex. I would never see it as a cause for concern... because I expect it from her already. To me, she is this... sex goddess.
I myself have written about suicide, even though I've never felt suicidal... and obviously, I got concerned responses...
What helps? Sharing such poems with the people who get it, is key. Another thing is being consistent, Every artist experiences challenge when they try something new because it's not what their audience expects and wants from them.
Take Greta again, for example, She presents her whole poetic persona as such, defined within a topic.
That's a good way to find the right readers for you.
As a poet, I often feel that some of my friends or family are simply ... not the right audience for all of my poems…
As a reader, each dark line I read, helps me connect to some dark feeling or other, in me, that I haven't been able to phrase. That helps me. Dark or bright, that is one of the beautiful things about poetry and art in general, right? ❤️
On the other hand, some dark poetry is simply not for me (I am using myself as an example for the common reader/poetry group facilitator). Then I don't read it, because I don't like it. If I feel its too violent or offensive, and it was posted in my facebook group, I will reach out to the poet, and I will remove it.
This poem might need to find its right audience, and that won't always be me or facilitated by me. But, having said that - I advocate for any soul who wants and needs expressing safely (as long as they are not offending anyone...).
I would like to point out the big emphasis I put on allowing each person or poem, to express what is in them. In my opinion, there are no "good" or "bad" feelings. Each feeling needs its space to be experienced, and poetry is a way to experience and express. If darkness comes, let it come, give it a hug. If happy words and thoughts come, let them come, give them a hug ❤️.