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  • Writer's pictureKaren Divya Shekar

Why My Poetry Career Never Took Off!

There’s a reason my poetry career never took off.

I tick too many boxes for what makes the perfect poet with very little quality poetry to prove it.

I’ll explain what I mean.

As a child, when I was in that highly determined phase of wanting to be a writer, I used to sedulously study the private lives of poets, writers, and artists in the hope that similarities in the course of our lives might act as some sort of predictor of future greatness for me.

For example, when I got TB, I consoled myself that Keats had died of TB at the hardly lofty age of 36. I was only thirteen when I was diagnosed. The calamity indicated there might be some glimmer of poetic immortality for me...!

And when the blues came on, I was grateful that all poets (Thomas Hardy, in particular) suffered from the problem. However, when the greys and reds came on, I felt the same way countless writers, artists and poets truly feel—misunderstood and alone.

(So thus far, I’ve ticked two boxes.)

I once read this article on how a mother wanted to help her growing child “become” a writer. The person writing the column advised that she allow her kid to be miserable all the time. Sound advice, I think, but not when the consumers in my home prefer their Ogden Nash to Sylvia Plath.

A common complaint my mother and sister have about my blogs is that they’re too whiny. “Nobody wants to know about your problems. They have enough of their own. People want to laugh not mope.”

And there I was, thinking I was doing humanity a favour by baring my soul and my problems in the hope that they wouldn’t feel alone. I was hoping you could read my blog’s manifesto, in case you thought I’d missed a beat.

But back to my poetry career!

As I have mentioned somewhere, I write mostly sappy love poetry. It’s all about missing the Beloved, seeking the Beloved, longing for the Beloved, wanting to be with the Beloved, etc.

You get the drift.

Well, what’s a poet got to write about except for love?

Only love doesn’t sell. Heartbreak does. Ironical.

Yet that’s lovely news for me, as I’ve had my heart broken quite a few times. Just look at the sheer number of criteria I meet. And I ask you, why am I not a published poet already?

I even look the part! If you’ve seen me, you will know that I walk around with a pall of gloom over my face, as if I am Atlas carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.

I am the perfect poet in all respects. Tortured, grim, serious, depressive. Only my poetry isn’t.

So what does my poetry lack?

I’ve thought about it. I’m not esoteric enough, I feel.

I’m too blatant.

I tell it like it is, which isn’t the right thing for a poet to do. Poets have got to have double meaning woven through all their work. Otherwise, where would the poetry experts be?

Who would write the guide books and critique the work to mean something that it simply doesn’t mean?

Here’s a sample of my work and you have my permission to laugh loudly.

At Tajpur Beach

Dawn broke over the East,

With nary a release of colour.

Dull grey clay mingled with sand

Fell away at my feet.

Striations, of where the sea had left the shore, marked the ground all around me.

No soul save our party occupied the beach.

As the waves crashed against the land,

My friends busied themselves with clicking pictures.

Mist hung over the horizon

And blurred the distinction between sky and sea.

My heart must be taught, Habibi,

To stop yearning for your love.

We danced with no music and sipped on hot tea.

We laughed and reminisced about the shenanigans of the previous night.

This is my second chance at life.

I want to forget you, sunshine, and love again.

Now, you can imagine!

I’ve got to reinvent myself I feel.

I’ve got to work at this esoteric business to get better.

After all, I’ve had TB, been jobless, and depressed.

Then why isn’t the poetry pouring out up to standards?

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Oct 03, 2021

Karen I loved your poetry!


Oct 02, 2021

At last, something to laugh about! Here's to learning to be esoteric! I prefer humour anyway.

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