What Came First: Modern Poetry or Rupi? And What Comes Next?

The answer is modern poetry. The solution is modern poetry. The solution will always be honest art. I have heard so many arguments, so many opinions, so many variations of different people saying different things, but what it comes down to is a phenomenon is happening around us.

 

I am not here to publicly scrutinize another writer. I do not bash or bully other writers for enjoyment, or to seek some sort of strange negative attention. I am here, however, to publicly scrutinize the occurrence that is in the process of changing poetry and what it entails. I am here to publicly scrutinize the style of poetry that largely consists of self-help advice and mantras we have all been told and heard of, even in passing conversation. I am here to scrutinize the “advice” writers are being given to change their style, silence their voice, and blatantly imitate another.

 

Some may not even realize this, but many have experienced it firsthand. Publishers, literary agents, and even readers have now started to encourage writers and poets to “be more like Rupi”. Writers are even being told that to be successful, they should do this. That they need to. That they should adopt Rupi’s style. That they should model their style after the widely successful poet. Negative reviews are appearing for authors simply because their book “is nothing like Milk and Honey”.

 

It needs to stop, for so many reasons. I will not, and would not, ever criticize Rupi as a person, or her body of work in general. First of all, I have never read the book. I have not read enough of her work to speak on this. I will, however, speak about the style of writing and what you are asking of other modern poets, because quite frankly, it is pissing them (or should I say us) off.

 

This style of poetry, in my opinion, and many others, is so widely popular because of the universal themes and nature of the pieces. Something even as simple as “love hurts” could gain an incredible reaction from thousands of people (this point has been proven in an online experiment, meant to elicit responses on simplistic pieces with universal tones; the author in question gained thousands of followers posting such pieces, in an extremely short amount of time). Do I think people should write such things and slap their name under it? Not really.

 

How can one take credit for lines that we have been told during breakups, during motivational speeches, during dinner? Does this mean I do not like the style? No. I simply do not read it. I enjoy work that shatters the ground beneath my feet and makes me feel something genuine, something honest. Does this mean I do not support anyone who writes in such style? No, absolutely not. I encourage every single writer to write what they need to say. Does the style offend me? No. Does it make me angry? No. Does it make others angry? …Maybe.

 

Are they wrong for being angry? I’m not sure. Does this style really define poetry though? Some say it isn’t even poetry at all.

 

The style of work is not what bothers me. What bothers me, is that not only are the “gatekeepers” of the literary world encouraging other writers to adopt this style, but so are the readers. This style simply does not define modern poetry, I’m sorry, but if this is what you are borderline-demanding from modern writers, then what will the future hold for modern poetry? Is it right to suggest to other writers to quiet their own voice, and model their work after another? This would only produce imitation, cheap, dishonest work. And in the end, it would not be art. It would be fraudulent.

 

To the writers who are disheartened by emails, reviews, responses, critiques, and advice from publishers, agents, and readers, all telling them that to be successful this is the style they need to adopt, please, never lose your voice. Always write honestly. Without voice and style we will never move forward artistically. Without individuality, self-expression, style, and voice, we will never progress. Art will never progress. Literature will never progress.

 

and every book

will be the

same book

you’ve ever

read

and you

will understand

that you

have read this

over

and

over

and

over

and you will miss

all the voices

you ever

prevented yourself

from hearing.

 

 

In short: Encourage growth. Encourage voice. Encourage something fucking different. Something groundbreaking. They say to never compare yourself to others. I say to stop comparing us to her.

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Writing, Writing, Procrastiwriting…

(Image from writingcenter.mcdaniel.edu)

Did I just come up with a new word? “Procrastiwriting.” It means procrastinating on writing by writing something that you are not supposed to be writing when instead you should be writing what you are supposed to.

Jesus! I have TWO chapters left of my novel to write. Two. Why am I not finishing it right now??

What is so difficult? Why am I blogging? Why am I reading? Why am I googling things? Why am I on goodreads making an author profile instead of sitting down and actually being the damn author I’m supposed to be?

Okay. I need to stop procrastiwriting. Do you guys ever do this? And then I wonder, am I afraid to finish my novel wrong? What if the ending sucks? Am I afraid that once it ends, I will be forced to edit it? And then have to start an entirely new book that I have no idea for yet?

Good lord, french fries, potato skins, hot dogs, tacos, something, please give me the strength to sit here and write this right now.

Wish me luck. Anyway, let me stop talking about me.  How’s your writing going?

Ah, Amidst the Procrastinating, She Finally Makes an Author Website

Hello world! Where are my other writers?! Find me. Let’s connect. Let’s share our words and our failures and our rejections and our triumphs. If I’ve learned anything throughout the years, it’s that there’s nothing better than finding other writers to talk about how we’ve come so not far. It is truly humbling, to be repeatedly kicked in your literary balls submission after submission. Eventually, we lie down and nod for a moment. Soak up the rejection. Admit to ourselves we aren’t good enough, they’re right. They’re always right. Then we get back up. They’re wrong. We pick up the pen. Start hammering away on the laptop, the typewriter, the tablet, the notebook, the chalkboard. Whatever instrument you use, the brain and the heart are always in it. And we are always in it. There is something beautiful about a writer’s persistence. A true writer will never stop. Even when a hundred people tell them to.

For me, I was rejected, oh, over a hundred times, by literary agents for book one in the dark fantasy series I finally decided to self-publish. You see, they can tell me all they want that it’s “not a good fit” for them “at this time” and “I’m sorry, I just didn’t connect with this project as wholeheartedly as I would have liked.” I kept all those nice little rejection slips and put them in the drawer of my desk. By the time I received all of the rejections for the first book, I had finished writing a series of three novels. What was I going to do? Listen to them and say, “yeah, they’re right, this blows monkey balls out of the bottom of the ocean.” I don’t know if that even makes sense. But hell no, I wasn’t going to just let over two hundred thousand words go to waste.

So, I did what any self-respecting rejected writer would do. I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and finally decided to get to self-publishing those babies. After all, they are like children to me. I did birth them out of my fingers. And my brain. And my heart. I invested almost three years into it. Shit. All I’m saying is, don’t let yourself get discouraged by rejections. You can take control and take matters into your own hands. The plus side of self-publishing is that you are in complete control. Of the cover. Of the plot. Of every little thing your heart desires. And for those of you who don’t know, there are ways to self-publish for free. Did you hear that? FREE! Who doesn’t love free shit?! I do!

I used createspace. And the ironic (depressing) thing is that I paid companies prior to this to put together my other self-published books, and this one looks the best (in my opinion).

So what are you waiting for? Dust off that old rejected manuscript and get to it.

The formatting, oh the formatting. Oh you might want to jump off a cliff if you’ve never had to format your own book. Any questions? Leave them in the comments below. I’m here to help!

Cheers to writing, kids! May your characters lead you in directions you didn’t even see coming.