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What makes a good poem? How and why do you write poetry? Depending on which group of poets you ask, the answer varies. To learn which poetic style and school of thought best suits your own ideas about poetry and writing, take your “poetic pulse” with our quick quiz.
What’s Your Poetic School Of Thought?
Poetic personality #1 –
- Are a dreamer
- Appreciate nature
- Believe in the power of the individual
- Trust your instincts and follow them
- Are fascinated by passion (and are passionate)
Congrats! You should be inducted into the Great Order of the Romantic Poets. There are no initiation fees, no rules to follow except those in your heart—but there is a lot of healthy debate among members. If you appreciate the simple life, this club is for you. The Romantic movement of the late 1700s was incredibly popular in poetry, and its influences are still felt today!
Poetic personality #2 –
- Love that live poetry readings have a special kind of energy not found on the page
- Like to write in rhyme and play with the sounds of your words and lines
- Want to change the world for the better through poetic expression
- Don’t mind a little friendly competition to liven things up, and like hanging out with other poets
- Think good poetry can be written by anyone, not just the formally educated
You’re an excellent candidate for slam poetry, a spoken-word poetry movement that came to prominence in the 1990s. Slam poetry contests are held all over the country. Think of enthusiastic people performing carefully crafted poems that play with the sounds of words and deliver strong, sometimes sociopolitical messages. That’s slam.
Poetic personality #3 –
- Enjoy word association games like “when I say ‘tree,’ you say _____”
- Mine your dreams for inspiration
- Believe in the power of your unconscious mind to create art
- Aren’t afraid of poems that other people say “don’t make sense”
- Don’t like to box yourself into ordinary word use and traditional associations
Hello, surrealist poet! Finger iron rumpling disco flagballs! (See, we speak your language). Surrealist poets dig deep into the human consciousness for truths that aren’t hindered by the so-called contrivances of traditional poetry or of the conscious brain. If you’re into surrealism, you want to explore the fundamentals of your human existence and aren’t afraid of stripping away the mental scaffolding that makes narrative “make sense.” Read up on surrealist techniques.
Poetic personality #4 –
- Are sentimental and maybe a little prone to melodrama
- Love a long poem, especially if it tells a story with a moral
- Aren’t afraid of weighty traditional forms with easy-to-memorize rhyme schemes
- Think poetry can touch the heart and mind without sacrificing the entertainment aspect
Grab some hot chocolate and marshmallows: You’re a fireside poet, and you’re in good company with Longfellow, Holmes, and Bryant. Fireside poets can be crowd-pleasers, but don’t think that means you shy away from asking tough questions of your audience. Oh, and you also love rhyme.
Poetic personality #5 –
- Are frequently guilty of “oversharing”; no topic is off-limits
- Will mine your deepest secrets for the sake of art
- Don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles of some poetic forms to make an impact
- Find that there’s something personally therapeutic about writing
Step into our office, have a seat on the chaise, and put up your feet: You’re a confessional poet. Confessional poets are brave in the extreme, not shying away from their most difficult inner conflicts—and the world’s better for it. Confessional poets opened up new discussions about issues that were (and are) being swept under the rug of social convention.
What Type Of Poet Are You?
There are many more schools of poetry: futurism, beat poetry, imagism, language poetry, Harlem Renaissance… We could go on. Find more schools of poetic thought here. And if you don’t feel like you fit into any preexisting poetry philosophy, that’s okay! You could be in the vanguard of an exciting new poetry form!