I was musing over some thoughts on "confessional" poetry, and then looked again at this week's prompt and realised that it actually asked about intense personal experiences, which might be private - mentioning the word "confessional" only in passing.
Still, I wanted to put out the thoughts I had about what is often described as confessional poetry. I was pondering the topics usually covered. It seems not everything is used, yet, as the topic for poetry. Most of this type seem to fall into a few categories - rage at a parent (often now dead); childhood physical or sexual abuse (which can overlap with the former); "divorce" poems i.e. feelings about a relationship or marriage, usually now dead.
It occurred to me that only those who no longer care about the other party involved can easily put such poems out in public. One of the reasons that I am never likely to write such poems. Most real relationships, fortunately, are not so one-sided. There is fault on both sides. Whatever the validity of our feelings, others are involved, and if you don't want to burn your bridges, their privacy needs to be respected.
Then it occurred to me that most so-called "confessional" poems confess nothing. Sure, they reveal secrets - but they are not confessions of the author's wrong-doing. They are not "confessions" in the Roman Catholic sense. In fact a famous poem which is a confessional poem in this sense, is William Carlos William's poem This is Just to Say which does actually use the words "forgive me"
Poets, it has been said, are no more moral than any other people, just because they create fine art. In fact, some of them may be quite nasty people. But they do not usually confess to being the perpetrator of violence or abuse.
Back to writing about intense private and personal experience - as I said, in many cases these are experiences involving relationships and other people. I do write from personal experience, but I tend to come at it sideways, not revealing specifics. I suspect there are more reasons involved than just privacy. It leaves more room for the reader to link to their own experience. It seems somehow more "poetic" - which is perhaps the same reason - perhaps poetry is something which makes a universal of a particular.
The other part of the prompt was to create an audioblog of myself reading a poem. Unfortunately audioblogger, it turns out, works by telephoning a United States number. I probably could do it from here, but it would be expensive - so I had to pass on that one.
Here is one of my own poems which is about as revealing as I am likely to get:
What My Science Teacher Told Me
Two atoms can never really touch, she said.
They can approach just so close
before the forces between their outer electrons
become so great
they push each other away.
In other words, when we embrace
in the illusion that we touch
what we feel is the force that keeps us apart.
That is why, when I lie here in your arms
nothing comes between us.
More Poetry Thursday here