“Can you answer me this?” the dm began. “Should my poetry have perfect punctuation? Or will the message be missed?”
For the first time ever, I had a young poet reaching out to me for advice. ME. It felt weird and somewhat awkward thinking of an appropriate response. Who was I to give advice to anyone? Most days, especially lately, I barely know the what, never mind the why, of anything I do.
Despite writing poetry on and off for twenty-plus years, having had some pieces published traditionally and putting out two collections independently, I certainly don’t feel as though I have any expertise to lend about what I do. Mostly, and honestly, I just do it for me.
For nearly my whole life (seriously, since I was five), I’ve written creatively because I’ve felt compelled to do it. It’s how quiet me communicates best and it makes me feel better to have done it, even if I feel as though my work gets largely overlooked and is mostly misunderstood, I still persist because I’d feel infinitely emptier if I didn’t.
And there is no perfect way of punctuating that.
“Poetry is about expression,” I replied after careful consideration to the young poet. “And that tends to get emotional and messy at times so forgive yourself if you forget a comma every now and then.”
The message won’t be lost – at least, not on me.