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Why I Do Not Identify as a Poet (Even Though I Write Poetry Sometimes)

Updated: 5 days ago

An identical twin

(For more on the subject, please read this)

Poetry is probably the easiest form of writing, to the point that anyone with the ability and minimal energy to write, can write a poem, whether or not that poem will be received positively or negatively. A poem is simply a song that doesn't necessarily need to have music attached to it in order to be one. In addition, you don't have to learn poetry in order to be a good poet or a well-received one. The whole thing is so easy, that it can take you a few minutes to do so, and even do so successfully, below a hundred words.

Not much expertise, therefore, is needed—nor skill, I might add—in order to be a poet. The most basic traits in order to be one are two: be able to write, and have a sense of pacing. Unlike rap, which is a more advanced type of poetry, you don't even have to rhyme your poems constantly, if at all, in order for them to be written beautifully.

It's similar to philosophy in a sense that everyone can write poetry as everyone with literal capacity can philosophize, whether they write their contemplations or not. However, since philosophy is mostly more complex, it's usually harder to be a philosopher than to be a poet, even though both have been more accessible today than ever before, thanks not only to literacy but also to the ability to find philosophical content online with little effort. In other words, everyone can become a philosopher nowadays, but it is far easier to become a poet than the former.

To be frank, I do not remember how much poetry I've written over the course of my short lifespan (I'm in my 20s). What I do remember, however, is that there have been a greater sense of accomplishment to me whenever I write an article, regardless of language, than there was when writing a poem, which only took a few minutes minimum.

To compare this lack of accomplishment—most of us are arguably typers, AKA, people who write constantly using a keyboard (that of course includes myself). There is nothing really great or impressive in being able to use a keyboard and do so constantly, and yet, most if not all of those who use a computer are typers, but what is actually the chance that we will identify ourselves as such, and begin to present ourselves as typers to other people?

This is why I believe that there is something a bit pretentious in identifying one as a poet, even if you write poetry as a role and/or profession. Unless you don't have the money or knowledge to publish a poetry handbook/book, it's not that grand, when we think about it, to be a poet. Likewise, there is nothing that much grand in being a philosopher, either, as all you have to do is to be able to think philosophically and express yourself in such manner, as I do now.

When I realized that, I understood that I'm not that special in my role, even if I have much to say, but I still identify myself as a philosopher because it requires far more effort than being a poet. There is nothing really grand in being a poet when anyone can be it. Socrates himself was originally a stonemason, and Diogenes lived in a barrel like a homeless person—and yet both are considered great philosophers. Why? It's not necessarily because of recognition, but because, theoretically, philosophizing requires far more merit than writing a few short lines do.

Of course, the purpose of this article is not to offend those who identify themselves as poets or hold poetry close to their hearts. This article's purpose is similar to that of Plato's cave allegory—to present a different light, a different "Sun", than to the lights we usually see within our different "caves". To simply examine and question a subject—which is the most elementary purpose of philosophy, as Socrates said: "The unexamined life is not worth living".

For those who still believe I "hold a grudge" against poets, I'd remind you that my own mother is a poet, who managed to write and sell her own poetry book, and I even helped her creating her own website for her poetry.

I am still aware, however, that there is a certain proficiency needed to write a good poem, but regardless, as a writer, I can testify from my own experience that this proficiency can be mastered quite easily with enough practice.

It's why I find it relatively pretentious to be very pompous about this whole field in writing; to use unnecessarily-rich expressions, unnecessarily-rich metaphors and so on. What need is there in such excessive descriptions when it is so easy, in this day and age, to describe things in a way that will make the average person understand it as well as a more educated one?

Simply because poetry is so simple,

As it is like writing these very words,

Words that most of humanity

Can read and write,

With little difficulty,

It is why I do not identify

As a poet,

Regardless if I am, or not,


In the world beyond,

My thoughts.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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