Why your poem may not be appreciated

The original question I answered on Quora is: I wrote my own poetry but no one appreciates it, why?

Do you not think it is quite natural that people appreciate the less beaten path more? Nearly everyone now makes poems!!

And you know what this comes down to: it increases the competition as there are poets sans pareil, and this may quite inconspicuously cause a decline in the value of poetry among the unestablished poets— even though that is only true in part.

The reason I said it is only in part true is that there are a host of platforms (some even paying) ready to publish your poem and open you to a larger readership, while they may be competitive to stand a chance with as well.

But to me, all of these do not count. We shouldn’t bother our heads so much about whether people care or they don’t care about our creative works. 

People’s comments are an external matter to us, so f it is what we need to keep going, we may be said to already be long down, since it is not something in our control. 

What you might have failed to consider is that the questioner didn’t tell us people condemned his work. This act is also in the hands of the people you rely on; rather than leaving you to guess why they do not appreciate your work, they may as well condemn it to your face. In which case you’ll be predisposed to stopping poetry outright, then, I guess.

My suggestion here is that you ignore comments most of the time. When they’re good, they may wake the ego in you and cause you complacency. When they’re not, they may make you feel discouraged. At what cost?

Take this: most of Charles Bukowski’s works were perceived as invaluable only after his demise. And the funny thing? He understood this yet he embraced it. In one of his works, he wrote: “If you are reading this, it means I made it”.

Also, despite having to quit and go from one job to another because of his writing career which was not well appreciated at the time, Charles Bukowski at a time completely focused on writing because he knew that’s where he found joy.

This may be telling us it is better “Not to try” as he advised (Lol) if this line is not for you. But if you feel you can’t do without it, GO ALL THE WAY!! And maybe just work on improving your skills.

Further, there are many true stories of best-selling authors whose manuscripts got not just rejected but also condemned by some publishers before they’d be accepted and turned out as best-selling. I think Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist is a practical example. You can confirm the report of this rejection here.

But there’s a lesson to learn from this too: that aesthetic distance may also play a significant role in who will or who will not appreciate certain creative works. Our definition of aesthetics varies between people, you know.

Similarly, the Stoics will say “Having done it is what matters” most. It is, in fact, the only wage we anticipate for our good deeds. Contribute your quota to the progression of the human race through your poems, in this case, and maybe completely take your mind off what people think about it. Maybe you’re not even seeing how this makes you do you. 

When asked what legacy he’d like to leave behind, Nobel Literature Prize laureate Wole Soyinka, in an interview, said I don’t bother my head with that, allow people do it. You should equally be unperturbed. 

By the way, permit me to chip in that I manage a Literary Journal that accepts poetry submissions if they meet our not-so-much publication requirements: – ProfAGE. The process is free.

As Highlighted in the original answer

Thanks for asking this question, and please let me know if there’s something you’d particularly want me to answer that I haven’t answered here.

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