I recently got an email advertising a poetry contest that I had entered a few times. I downloaded the PDF advertisement, and it’s sitting on my computer desktop as I debate whether I should enter again.
It seems I have lost my inspiration to write poetry. Back in high school, I constantly wrote poems, or shreds of poems. Ninety-nine percent of them were horrible atrocities that should never see the light of day (but I still keep them for nostalgia’s sake). The poetry continued to flow in college (only slightly less horrible than it was in high school). When I graduated college, I wrote a poem a day for a few years, then stopped.
All the poems were beginning to sound the same, and they circled around the same topics. I wasn’t inspired, really. I was more or less forcing myself to keep my words flowing when they just didn’t want to flow anymore. It’s like running the tap until the water runs out and all you have left is some muddy sludge at the bottom of the well.
So I gave up. I wrote a grand total of one poem this year and found that it sounded the same as all of the others; while I was writing it, it seemed different, but it wasn’t – not really. A few weeks ago, I looked back over all the poetry I had amassed over the years, and there were some poems that didn’t even sound like I had written them. They were strangers to me. They were decent, probably written when I was reading a lot of contemporary, award-winning authors. But I felt no connection to them.
There may come a day when I feel inspired to write poetry again… and I won’t force myself to write a poem until that day. As for that poetry contest, I have well over 400 spare poems I could revise and enter. But will I? I’m not sure.