I once wrote a tongue-in-cheek(?) poem to the effect that everybody writes poetry, but nobody reads it. That, of course, wasn’t meant literally, but the degree of exaggeration is in the eye of the beholder. Indulge me, nonetheless.
This recollection resurfaced recently when I commented parenthetically to a fellow blogger that I thought he was a better writer than a poet. I could’ve (and perhaps should’ve) kept my opinion to myself, but as an established (not just self-published) poet/writer, I felt qualified to volunteer my two cents worth, just as an aside, and he took (or, at least, expressed) no offense.
Anyway, my take on his (for want of a better term) “personal angst” poetry is that tons of it has been written – what you might call an age-old glut on the market – and, in any case, this type of “baring your soul” is more human and natural in prose form (like a story, person to person) than in a poem. It takes a damn good poet to handle angst well, and – well, let’s be honest – there just aren’t that many damn good poets. On the other hand, a writer of unexceptional ability can, with learning and practice, write prose in a way that can draw in (rather than turn off) a reader. If you don’t want the expression of your most heartfelt emotions to appear self-indulgent, think twice before waxing poetic. It could be almost pathetic.