How Poetry is still relevant to the 21st Century

Ok guys, so I have been a fan of poems since I was a youngster and I can’t help but feel that everyone is a bit ashamed of poetry these days … it is not outdated and certainly not irrelevant at all. So over the last few weeks I have been (for lack of a better word) experimenting and I have found so many exciting constraints and new ways of writing that have opened my eyes and I really wanted to share them with you.

The poem I wrote this week is called ‘Smart Warship’ and here it is…

Lived land, silly prey.

Sad boy down, soul July.

Light-heartedly, winds not

Clothing repeat – nation’s fate.

Saying:

Up Queer, Rose Hens.

Now ambition by the fire.

Their eyes just crack

Rank, it’s due.

Chimpanzee crossing

Father, thee was plenty

Fluttering fine thread

The tree afterwards wood.

Smart Warship.

First thoughts?

That made absolutely no sense, am I right?

Read it again.

Still doesn’t make sense?

Well that’s the fun of this type of poetry. It is called Cut-Up poetry and you can go about it anyway you like and to be frank it seems like the fun is making it as absurd as possible.

I took an anthology of hundreds of poems, flicked through it and randomly stopped on a page, stabbed a word with a pencil, wrote it down and made a list.

Then I didn’t reorder these words, or even add any joining words in. I just gave them a structure!

THEN, I read it a few times. And I made up a meaning… what was my book trying to tell me…something about war? or Chimpanzees? or maybe nothing at all …

Why as humans do we NEED things to make sense? Why are we always looking for meaning in everything? It doesn’t need meaning. What we’ve all forgotten about poetry is why people loved it in the first place. Not because of the metaphorical meanings or the clever forms … it is because people have a love for words and the art you can create with your voice! Why would music and lyrics have become such an important part of the 21st Century… of course it is just a modern, melodic version of poetry.

Even if you think the sound of Cut Up poetry sounds silly I really think its worth a go. Cut up a poem you’ve written before and reorder it and you might learn something new about yourself! There are so many different ways to experiment with poetry and writing!!!!!!!!!! Please, if nothing else, just give this a try, I’ve written a few methods you could try below.  If any of them come up really funny, stupid or actually quite deep let me see them by posting below 🙂

Cut Up Methods

  1. Cutting up a poem you wrote or someone else wrote and put it back together in a completely new order
  2. Take a book / magazine and cut out words and re jiggle them on the table and make a poem out of them ( I have one of these to show you soon from a H&M mag )
  3. Try random word generators online, that comes up with some good words!
  4. Try what I did: stabbing words with pencils.

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4 thoughts on “How Poetry is still relevant to the 21st Century

  1. undergroundatypical says:

    That’s awesome… my brain ascribed some profound meaning to your poem, something about sexuality and freedom and the human condition… to think it was random words!!! I LOVE IT

  2. Thanks !!! I found myself making up something too!! I told a friend of mine and they suggested I look at this thing called a Ferret-Jello complex. It’s this theory that just because two words are put together we want to make meaning up for it. It’s so much fun 🙂 xx

  3. I did a bit of this when I belonged to a writer’s group back at uni. It was a lot of fun. We each wrote a line and covered it up and passed it on.
    I thought you might be interested in reading about a poetry scandal we had in Australia in the 1940s involving this type of thing. It is known as the Ern Malley Affair. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ern_Malley
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

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