Is The Poem Always About My Poetry Analysis

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“Is the poem always about the poet?” The short answer is, absolutely not! One of my greatest pet peeves used to be when readers assume that every poem I write is personal. Of course, many poems are personal to the poet, and certainly all poems contain some elements of their creator by default. The myth that all poetry is personal is due to the nature of poetic devices such as allusion, metaphor, symbolism, and simile, to name a few, but none so much as point of view. Contrary to belief, point of view does not necessarily tell the reader whether the poem is personal to the author or not. One may write a very personal poem using either second or third person POV. Conversely, one may write a poem about someone else using first person POV, which …show more content…
The girl in the mirror is pretty, but strange –
I don’t want to see her, I wish she would change;
I’d like her hair short and a beard on her chin,
Then she’d look like the boy I feel like within.

I speak to the girl, but the voice sounds all wrong;
I wish it were manly – much deeper, and strong.
I do not like hearing the girl that I hear;
I wish I could wish my true self to appear.

I cross my arms over to cover her breasts.
They shouldn’t be there; should be hair on her chest.
I glance up and the girl’s still glaring at me;
I wish she would leave because she is not
…show more content…
© 2015 The Poet Darkling™

Obviously, anyone who knows me would know that this poem is in no way about me, and in no way represents my feelings, my experience, or my perspective. I wrote it for a young transgender girl that I counsel, to give a voice to her feelings, not mine. Nevertheless, a stranger reading this poem would have no idea of the back-story behind it, and would assume that I was the subject because of the first person POV.
However, I have learned that this is not a bad thing. After all, my goal is to write poetry that speaks to people and stirs emotion, not to present my personal experience to the world. Sometimes a poet has to be an actor, an imposter – which is what I had to do with this write. I had to empathize with my subject, dig into her soul not mine, and put myself into her shoes, and I felt the best way to accomplish this was to choose a first person POV. To illustrate this, consider the same poem, but written with a second person POV:
The girl in the mirror is pretty, but strange –
You don’t want to see her, you wish she would change;
You’d like her hair short and a beard on her chin,
Then she’d look like the boy you feel like

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