1. agorman00
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    agorman00 Member

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    Poetry How to be profound without being cliche?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by agorman00, Jun 1, 2016.

    I've been having a lot of trouble with this lately. I've been trying to write some serious poetry for once, and everything I write sounds like some edgy, angsty crap a thirteen year old would write after getting dumped. It's this very reason why I don't really bother writing serious poetry and just stick to silly, immature crap.

    So, like the title says, how can I be profound, deep, and emotional without being cliche and moody?
     
  2. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    I don't write poetry but I think it all comes down to writing what you feel to be true. Don't try to sound like anyone but yourself. Write your own experience.
     
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  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Keep it simple maybe.
    I find that the more I get longwinded or use bigger words or the more trumpeted up imagery I use, the less profound I sound.
    Also focus on some good stuff. Not just negative stuff. Ragging on things just naturally sounds whiny.
     
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  4. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Inspiration will strike you and you will write the truest poem you know. And to you, that will be truly profound.
     
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  5. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    I don't pretend to be good at poetry by any means, but my advice is don't try to be profound and deep. Just be honest. Write about what matters with the simplest words you know.
     
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  6. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Forgive me if my answer seems harsh, but I think to be profound, you must have great knowledge and/or accurate understanding of your subject (I am basically quoting the dictionary here).

    To be deep is the same as being profound.

    To be emotional, you must know yourself truthfully.

    To avoid being cliché or moody, you must be all these things honestly. And to achieve that, you must be empathic, which is often a matter of practice.

    Good luck with it. Such poetry is damn hard to master (it's certainly beyond me). I wish you all the best.

    [You see? You could take my words as a dismissal, which would rightly make you angry, then you might think me malicious, then you might think me misguided, then you might think me well-intentioned but patronizing, or maybe I'm angry at something unrelated to this thread and I'm just venting on you, or maybe you think this is all good advice. Decide for yourself. How do you feel now? Put it in words...]
     
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  7. agorman00
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    agorman00 Member

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    Really appreciating the help so far!
     
  8. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    Maybe give us a snippet? Here is mine:

    Lurking in the darkness, dormant in the mind,
    That simple question that plagues the soul.
    It sneaks then strangles, when energy depleted,
    Asking, am I really going to die alone?
     
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  9. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's a Japanese proverb...He who shoots for the prize will miss the target; he who shoots for the gold (centre of the target in archery) will win the prize.

    Seriously, if you TRY for profound, you will achieve pretentious.
     
  10. Foxe
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    Foxe Active Member

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    As some people have posted, it takes honesty and it takes understanding.
    Perhaps the true message of what you want to write is lost in the fact that you don't truly know what you want to say.
    Sit with the thought that inspired you to write, and really think about what it means to you.

    I'd also use some of these words (but not the subjects) sparingly: love, soul, heart, feelings, sad, etc.
    Metaphors be with you!

    Also, if you're like me, you'll be thinking of poetry a lot, even when you're not writing. Keep a notepad or a file on your phone ready for when a particularly striking line comes to you. You never know when you'll have an opportunity to incorporate it into a poem, or to use it as the basis of its own poem.

    Happy writing!
     
  11. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wish I could tell you which brain-switch to reset (or turn off or on) to make this happen. Even though I went through something like this myself with my WIP, I still don't know what exactly I did.

    I got feedback on one of the early drafts saying that it sounded like it was aimed at a juvenile audience. On the next draft, I was able to correct this and about the only thing I can say I consciously did was try to restrain silly commentary. I worked at putting the comedy into character action and dialogue rather than the narrative voice. That worked for me.

    I realize what you're doing is going in the opposite direction, but perhaps the same thing applies: cut back on dramatic narrative and replace it with dramatic action/dialogue (or whatever the poetic equivalent of dialogue is).
     
  12. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or try allegory:

    In the lightless, sightless night,
    Two bodies rend, attract, repel,
    Conflicting fields
    Dissipating energy
    Then whirl away
    Their paths forever altered
    By a chance meeting
     
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would abandon the idea of profound. Just go for honest and serious (though perhaps a fraction dryer than your first instinct, since you feel that you're being too angsty) and profound may eventually happen.
     
  14. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, profound and cliche don't really go hand-in-hand, by the definition I think most subscribe to (showing great insight). So if you're writing something that comes across as cliche, then the idea can't be very profound. I think part of the problem is that you may be trying too hard to be profound. Most of the time when I find that something is profound, it reads casually and naturally, as if the writer didn't even realize the depth of knowledge they've grasped. It's difficult to do so when you're writing with such intense emotions. I agree with chicken freak, sometimes it needs to be a little dryer for the idea to translate into something powerful and insightful.
     
  15. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    The decision on if something is "Profound" or not is in the hands of the reader.
    Usually it depends on the readers personal experience and.. wisdom? I'm going to guess wisdom, seems a wise choice.

    If you don't believe me, go back and read/listen to something you thought was profound 10 years ago.
    +5 points if you can keep from cringing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 8, 2016
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  16. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    I think you are being a little hard on yourself. I don't write poetry anymore but when I did it was for me. It was cathartic and I did it to get my feelings down so I didn't care if it was cliche. If you are just starting out, you have to allow yourself to write "bad" stuff and not feel bad about it.
     
  17. joeh1234
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    joeh1234 Active Member

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    If you're trying to be profound, it will more than likely sound. That you are trying to be clever and readers will not tether, themselves to your work, so dont be a berk, and try to impress, because ultimately you will cause self distress, write what comes naturally, and you'll be like a rechargeable battery, allways there, showing you know what it is to care......
    Sorry couldn't help myself
     

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