Ignore the Poetry Nazis

As a creative writing major I get to study what I love, and take TONS of writing classes. Fun, right? Well, you’d sure think so. But the fun keeps getting sucked out of my current poetry class because of the presence of a certain Poetry Nazi. Okay, so this might be an insensitive name for her, but my goodness, I’ve never met a person so intolerant and close-minded about writing!

On the first day of this class, she told me that my poem, “wasn’t a poem” and that “if I wasn’t going to adhere to official poetic forms–why am I in a poetry class?” And today, she made me feel terrible about a haiku I had written because it wasn’t conventional. Sheesh! I’m not a perfect writer, I know, but her comments are more mean than helpful. What’s worse, is she does this to everyone. So it’s time for me to passive-aggressively blog about it.

I’m not trying to slander this girl for the sake of slander, but rather because I want to say this: create whatever the hell you want to create. Be you. Art was never meant to go in a neatly labeled box but rather, it is designed to challenge arbitrary rules and to make us think beyond them. Sure, tradition is important and necessary when learning your art, but being true to who yourself and to what you have to say is what’s most important. That is what resonates with people and inspires them.

One of the biggest mistakes an artist can commit is making their art inaccessible and elitist. Art is for everyone and if you get wrapped up in “supposed tos” you are going to alienate people. I mean, when you look at a painting, do you count how many brush strokes are used or critique the color palette chosen? No, where’s the fun in that? Most of us consider the feelings the painting evokes, and what it makes us visualize.

So maybe I’m just a liberal-minded, accepting, supportive, hippy artist, but I absolutely ABHOR when people belittle art because it isn’t technically perfect. Being an artist isn’t about becoming one of the master race with perfect technique and flawless adherence to tradition.

So, you, yeah, YOU! Ignore the poetry nazis! Create in a way that represents you and don’t conform to notions of “perfection.” They’re relative anyway.

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