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There is No Such Thing as a Bad Poem

Updated on February 29, 2020
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There's an old walrus from Nantucket

who'd a whisker so long you could pluck it

he cried out in ire,

his eyes burned like fire,

'cuz they came and stole 'way his bucket.

The fun thing about limericks, a five line poem with an "AABBA" rhyming style, is that they are short, most are funny, and they are easy to write. Limericks can be written about pretty much anything you can imagine. I wrote the one above, referring to the popular image of a walrus, shown also above.

Poetry is a form of art involving the manipulation of words to create or express emotion, tell a story, or any reason, really. Poems have been used to share love, joy, hatred, pain and sorrow. Poetry can be long, for example the most recent declaration that the world's longest poem contains over 98,000 words and is 728 pages long!

Poetry has no definition of quality. If, when writing a poem you start with one style in mind and the words mold themselves into a different style, you're still writing good poetry. If the words, feelings and flow make sense to you, it's good poetry.

Repeat after me: There is no such thing as bad poetry. All poetry is creative outlet in words, and creativity is good. A difference in perspective does not mean lesser quality.

Good. Now that you have that out of the way, here is another poem.

My dreams are plagued with empty halls

Outside my windows a darkness rests

Reigning in my fear, I reach for you in my sleep

Gathering handfuls of your flesh and drawing you near

A wash of relief warms my soul

Now I can sleep, fitful and calm, my love in my arms till the dawn.

The poem above is an example of what is called an acrostic poem, wherein each line of the poem begins with a certain letter. These letters, when arranged in order as they appear, form a word, phrase or sentence. In the poem above, the word presented is my ex-husbands first name, Morgan.

A poem may seem as if it is nonsense, may rhyme or not, may be arranged in a way that reads oddly or perfectly normal. None of these elements make a poem bad or good, simply different.

So, rather than trying to consider what makes a poem good, why not approach the poetry you read from the standpoint of difference? What makes the poems you read different from others? Do you prefer one style of poetry over another? Why is this the case?


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