Initially, I wrote poetry for myself. It was often cathartic. Ultimately, I believe, poetry is meant to be for a larger audience. Poetry is intimate and reflects an individual’s perceptions, experiences and feelings. However, inherent within poetry is that oft-stated truth that “the personal is political.” Poetry marks the human journey. While it relates the poet’s personal journey, poetry often reflects the climate sustained by a larger cultural belief or practice.
As a woman writing about not feeling safe, for example…I look across the landscapes of time and place on the planet and I witness how women have not felt safe for generations over many different cultures. (I mean within their very homes and communities.) As a poet, I capture my unique experience of feeling unsafe and like a hall of mirrors, the image is reflected ad infinitum.
Therefore, poetry joins us to one another. The poet is, in this way, a herald of the times.
In your journal, write your own reflections on how the personal is political for you. In what way is your poetry (or writing or art) a herald of the times? Does your writing, in some way, reflect a larger, universal theme? Do you believe that your poetry or writing is “meant to be for a larger audience?”