Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Who else is cringing? The topic of themes has come up on Shortmystery, and I commented:

I write to whatever market I'm targeting and that often dictates theme to some extent. In retrospect, many of my stories involve women outsmarting men because I've never fully bought into female characters who weren't just as capable of everything males are.

I find recurring themes more acceptable in prose because ideas of genre are more fixed. You know a market wants specific types of stories and you try to write those types. Writing poetry, I consciously avoid themes because it's all too easy to harp on recurring life issues (Why am I still single? Why do I always get stuck in traffic?), and that only leads to monotonous verse. I find more opportunity to grow and explore in poetry than in fiction, and I try to use that opportunity. There are fewer expectations on poetry than on genre fiction. Every good poem I've read was something of a surprise.

This much said, I'm sure there are themes in my poetry that I leave someone else to reason out when I'm gone.

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