Why I Do Not Write Poetry About Personal Matters
I’m too private a person. I know that poetry since becoming predominately lyrical naturally tends to be personal in nature, but that is different from being autobiographical.
I’m averse to spilling my guts in public, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate poetry that is ‘confessional’. Some of it is great: for example, Sylvia Plath’s poetry. And I know it is a great emotional release valve for many young people who write primarily for their own satisfaction—although rarely are their ‘poems’ really poetry.
I do write about some aspects of my life that are important to me, and I think might be of general interest. I just find genres such as the memoir more comfortable. Two of my books are of this sort. One is my recent book about a cycling trip I took with my son from New Orleans back up to Canada, Going Home: Cycling Through The Heart Of America. Another is a work-in-progress about growing up (and trying to fit in with the other kids) in a rough American neighbourhood, Chicago Days: Growing Up Absurd On The South Side.