Where, according to you, are #poetry and #art born?


Hakone Open Air Museum

Where Are Art and Poetry Born?

December five years ago, this blog was almost my private domain. Not many visited, still fewer left comments.

As the festive season draws near, I’m feeling grateful to have all the love I do receive now, and to each of my 10,873 followers, a Thank You.

I went back browsing on Daily (w)rite  and found this post and I find it relevant to my life and writing today as well.

This was the essence of the post, these words by Natsume Sōseki, in the opening lines of his brilliant, and beautiful, Kusamakura:

If you grow by reason, you grow rough-edged; if you choose to dip your oar into sentiment’s stream, it will sweep you away. Demanding your own way only serves to constrain you. However you look at it, the human world is not an easy place to live.

And when its difficulties intensify, you find yourself longing to leave that world and dwell in some easier one–and then, when you understand at last that difficulties will dog you wherever you may live, this is when poetry and art are born.

Do you agree with Natsume Sōseki? Where according to you, are poetry and art born? Are pain and difficulties necessary?

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123 thoughts on “Where, according to you, are #poetry and #art born?

  1. Adversity builds character and forces us to confront ourselves. It also makes for good art as it drives us to explore the reasons why we suffer. At least that is my perspective of it but I am sure there is a lot more to be said on the matter.

  2. No, I don’t agree.

    Poetry seems to have been born from people who were not happy thinking clearly and speaking so.

    Art is born from having the luxury to create it. I’m referring to “art” in museums and hanging on walls.

    People create all sorts of things for their own benefit, enjoyment, and to express themselves to others, and most is unknown to the population at large, and thus no one calls it “art”.

    My humble opinion, of course.

    • “People create all sorts of things for their own benefit, enjoyment, and to express themselves to others, and most is unknown to the population at large, and thus no one calls it “art”.”

      What art is can be a very subjective opinion, and one man’s art could well be another’s junk and vice versa. I have no experience with creating art– but I do know of loads of artists, (Van Gogh comes to mind) who created art as a result of an inner compulsion and not luxury.

      • Still mostly for his own benefit (compulsion). Also, for the time, he had a rather privileged upbringing. That included training as an artist.

        Many of the events in his self-described “sad” life could be said to be derived from the way he chose to live, and decisions he made.

        In my opinion, a far cry from having life’s adversity push him to become an artist, but again, that’s just me.

        And yes, art is subjective, so the artist’s story is often tied to how much their works are worth, often after the fact. This then points to a made-up worth that comes into being not when the work is created, but rather when someone decides this person was tragic/nuts/happy/gifted.

        I don’t know if you ever noticed the doodles at the bottom of my posts. People have told me I should sell them. I know no one would buy them, but if I were to become famous (or infamous) I would bet those could indeed fetch a pretty penny.

        But right now they are only doodles. It takes a consensus of opinions for them to become “art”, even though they will still be doodles.

        None of this is meant to diminish someone’s appreciation for something they see. But even there there are other factors at work.

        If I say I like a particular poem (very unlikely), sculpture, or painting, no one would take notice. But if someone famous happens to mention they like them . . . all of a sudden there is disproportionate amount of interest from others, and I contend that has nothing to do with the piece itself.

        • Agree. Art does become about who looks at it and in what context. I remember this video of one of world’s best violinists, who fills up expensive concert halls, playing one of the best violins known to man standing at a subway, and only two people stopped to listen, one was a child and other an old man. The rest passed by this man who connoisseurs paid a minimum of 200 dollars (at the upper stalls) to listen to! So yes, context indeed matters.

  3. In my personal experience, poetry was born out of my response to my parent’s abusive marriage and the ensuing divorce, all while I was still a child. I found my gift in writing when I turned to it as a means of therapy. Not all people find their gift in poetry or art (or both) in such painful ways, but I do think that such gifts are born out of innate human responses to adversity. So in general, I agree with Natsume.

    • I’m sorry you had to go through so much pain, and I applaud you not only for being able to come out of it, but also have it contribute to your creative life.Thank you for sharing.

  4. I believe poetry and art are born from all human experiences and emotions. What inspires one, may not do the same for another. Living through difficulties in life can certainly help in the process, but so can the wonderful things and the journeys to achieve or obtain them.

  5. Yeah, I agree. I like what he says about not relying on reason or sentiment, or wanting to have things exactly your own way. For me, writing is mostly an uphill struggle. I have to fight the current, be steadfast, seek what lies beyond my immediate knowledge and vision. To write well, it seems one has to surrender oneself to God yet continue to search and push and expand.

  6. I would do it so the big statue is striking the same pose as the little one. I like Art that allows the view to complete the picture themselves, just like this one seems to do for me!

    It doesn’t have to be something I can relate to either; even as an abstract. Though I do believe abstracts are saying something too…

  7. This got me thinking – if one reads Beethoven’s letters, they contain much pleading with the principal of his nephew Karl’s boarding school: I will pay the fees; I’m just writing another piano sonata so I can get some money and pay you!

    • So many of the great ones, Bruce. I think of Keats and consumption and his death at 22. And how upset I was when I was 18, and some professor suggested that Keats wrote for money, in order to survive.

  8. I don’t think you can pinpoint any one source of where poetry and comes from and I believe it is a convergence of many things. It also depends on the genre and subject matter.

    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

    • Lee, I agree. Creativity is a strange, unpredictable beast. Who knows where it comes from most of the times, and who knows where it takes us, as long as it does take us along.

    • That definitely is the prevailing notion. But then, loads of people with loads of pain and difficulty never embrace the creative life– I think we need to have something in us for us to respond to our circumstances through art.

  9. Poetry and literature (I am not a visual artist, so I don’t use the term “art”) can be born of a lifetime of experience, or a moment of finely honed observation. It can be born of a desire to recreate the world as we wish it could be, or an effort to depict it accurately as it is. Sometimes these impulses embody themselves in character, dialogue and action, and thus fiction is born. Other times, they take the form of rhythm and image, and poetry is the result. Either way, we serve the capricious Muse whenever she chooses to perch on our shoulder.

  10. My only quibble is that he’s basically saying that you have to be on the verge of suicide for art to be born. This goes along with the notion many people have that you have to be a bit crazy to be a true artist. I don’t think that’s true. Art can come to you when you’re perfectly content and at peace as well as when you’re tormented.

  11. A flat life leads to flat art. Van Gogh, Poe, Hemingway are really good examples. I would rather live an interesting life even if it was not an easy life. From what I understand neither Mother Theresa or Nelson Mandela lived a “good” life but they didn’t live boring lives. Although it may be bordering on cheesy there is a line in a Taylor Swift song that says “nothing safe is worth the drive.” I think that could be said for both life and art.

    • True, living dangerously might stoke the creative fires. But then, it might not. I think there is something inborn in folks who start creating when surrounded by adverse circumstances, because clearly, not everyone does. Art, poetry, literature– imho, they are responses to what you see and feel, and that is largely determined by the spark within you.

  12. Any form of art comes from deep within your soul. The experiences you encounter and the mistakes made help you grow as an individual. I’m sure there have been a lot of successful writers who wrote about experiences that others had as opposed to the actual writer. Being connected is what allows art to flow gracefully and effortlessly.

    • Yes, writers are parasitic, in a way. They will use the lives of those they can observe, often quite ruthlessly. And most writers are equally ruthless about using their own life experiences– yes, true art does come from deep within the soul. But as others have said, the value of art tends to depend on who’s looking at it.

      • The audience is definitely a huge factor. Without an audience art becomes practically non-existent. I’m ruthless as a writer on both ends but I cover my tracks with metaphors and false stories.

  13. I think poetry and art are born when we allow death to occupy us while we’re alive. Perhaps this is just another way of saying the same thing. Or given another name: duende, allowing that mystical spirit to carry you away.

    • I have known a lot of writers to be preoccupied by their mortality and the transience of life, to be moved to create something that would last beyond them, be in-transient. So yes, some artists are indeed preoccupied with death.

  14. Poetry and art are born in the subconscious, the creation of poetry and art may therefor be thought of as a consecutive integration of the personality.

  15. Spent today reading a little about oratory, and written art, their science, and their nature towards expression to develop in expanding their boundaries in different directions, and purposes in cultural terms.

    Where, according to you, are poetry and art born?

    I am tending to see them as reactive, and interactive to moments, both internal, and external, even when calculated, planned, or just in an organic way, which then kind of evolved into considering it as trans-formative expression, borrowing between the existing, and ones self. So rather than just being born, it’s much more, it is in a network, nexus of evolving states as different entities come in contact with various elements, components, alternatives in poetic/artistic explorations, and life. Derivatives, and differentials to variables randomly acquired, or chosen in state, or moment, where poetry and art form a cumulative expression, with no single start point. Poetry and art, exists everywhere, in everything, just as mathematics and science do….

    So yes, I agree with Natsume Sōseki.

    • So rather than just being born, it’s much more, it is in a network, nexus of evolving states as different entities come in contact with various elements, components, alternatives in poetic/artistic explorations, and life.

      Love that, and completely agree.

  16. I enjoyed this read and I thank you for it. I agree that for some, and most of the artist/writers I know, it is pain and difficulties that lead to fully shine in their art though I don’t see it as necessary for all. What is life if not a work of art?

  17. I am not a great fan of pain and suffering and would never seek it out as a means of accessing creativity but I like the discussion stimulated by the words of Natsume Soseki……..My own way of finishing the following sentence would be ….. when you understand at last that difficulties will dog you wherever you may live that is when you are ready to accept personal responsibility for how you feel. If suffering is your aim choose for suffering and if joy is your aim choose for joy. It is not circumstances that create happiness. Circumstances simply are what is and are in themselves non-creative. But circumstances are a useful tool and as such can be used to access that which will inspire new life,new thoughts, new circumstances, all of your own creation. Pure art..

    • Circumstances simply are what is and are in themselves non-creative. But circumstances are a useful tool and as such can be used to access that which will inspire new life,new thoughts, new circumstances, all of your own creation.

      Absolutely true for some people. For others– whose circumstances keep getting worse, they often begin to forget that they have this choice.

  18. 10,000 followers! That is amazing. I’m humbled. Not surprised, though. You give friendship as much as you get it. I love when you drop by my blog, comment or poke me. I feel our friendship though I’ve never met you. When I ask questions, you answer thoughtfully, not on auto-pilot.

    That’s valuable.

  19. I think poetry and art is a tool to create, you can do it for countless reasons, the one that makes you start formally using it in this life is probably the suffering, otherwise maybe you just keep going on.

  20. Poetry is an attempt to express complicated feelings with inadequate words. Art comes from what we care about – whether that’s pain or not.

    Personally I write because, while I have tried to put it behind me, I can’t seem to shake the need to tell stories. Some of the stories have come out of my hardships, but a lot of them have come from my joys.

    • I agree– I write because of the people inside of my head– only I can hear them, and it seems unfair not to let them have access to the world outside :). My stories do tend to be (somewhat) dark, but I keep honest to my voice, taking faithful dictations whenever I can.

  21. Natsume Sōseki is not wrong, but I find his view extremely narrow. There is more to art or poetry than pain. Look at the pure joy of a well-crafted haiku, that re-creation of a numinous moment. Was it written with back of the poet’s hand against his forehead, eyes rolling skyward in a vey-ist-mir moment? No.

    We are more than reason; we are more than sentiment; we are more than self-will. But we are not less than these things, either. We are human in all of its ramifications.

    Art is broad and so are poetry and pain. They cover enormous spectra, huge areas. There is certainly a place where poetry and pain intersect. That intersection is not all of poetry, nor art. As reneedeangelo wisely and succinctly states above, “poetry and art are born from all human experiences and emotions.” It is the breadth of these experiences, combined with reason and craft, sentiment and expression, and our self-will-driven desire to connect, that makes great poetry.

  22. Thanks so much for following my blog! I am honored and truly appreciate it. And for me, poetry was indeed born out of pain – in what felt like (in retrospect) a divine intervention, my first poem just spilled out of me in a moment of extreme turmoil – then became the only way I could truly reach the exact nature of what I was feeling. Regular words in regular sentences just didn’t do it. But that’s just me. Now poetry comes from many different sources within and around me…and it is still (and always will be) a necessity in expressing how I feel about…well…anything.

    So, thanks again…I look forward to more of your blog.

  23. As to time with a blog, we are on the same journey in time invested and shared. Wow….over 10,000 followers….I ever be so humble with my 300 but I would not trade them for 10,000. There is a certain comfort to be heard amidist almost a 100 comments. There is a peace and comfort in that. Quality in my life comes greatly from the physical connections of my life. Yesterday it was my dentists’ staff and the manager of a tire store. It made for a good day…that connection. Blessings in your continued journey.
    John
    Silver Star Farm and Ranch of TexasQ

  24. Thank you. I’ve been close to leaving the blogosphere altogether. This post helped. Suppose we all need a nudge once in a while.
    For me art is born from pain, we strain our minds to see the joy that is the fruit of suffering.

      • Trouble finding my audience.
        Know we should write for the sake of writing, but you get these ideas of what follows a successful writing career, and it is difficult for me to not feel like a failure when I do not achieve what I have projected before me.
        Didn’t help the ole self esteem that my first book tanked earlier in the year.
        But who am kidding?
        No matter how much i complain, next week, next year, I ll be writing a poem or massacring prose.

        • I am sorry to hear this (about the book and trouble finding your audience). I, too, am not sure who is my audience, but I’m just starting out with blogging so I assume this will take a while.

          I appreciate your determination to keep writing.

          Maybe your book didn’t reach your anticipated goals, but perhaps it’s the modest beginning (or next step) of a successful journey. I hope you will stay in the blogosphere and continue to share. I appreciate your honesty, and probably others do, too.

  25. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the heck caused man to invent poetry and art. No other mammals have that. Most spend their time trying to survive. We take time to make the world more beautiful.

    Interesting, innit? Somewhere between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens, poetry and art were born.

  26. Pingback: Where are #Poetry and #Art born? | johndwmacdonald

  27. The human mind works by connecting experiences to form concepts. Art is the human mind extracting those ideas and reducing them back to physical experiences. Poetry is just a form of art that is somewhere between music and fiction. Music(without lyrics) creates emotions and aids the listener in thinking of unrelated ideas that all relate to an emotion. “Fiction” gives the reader facts and photographs and helps the reader build concepts to connect them. Poetry does both in its own way. It’s like a series of photographs with powerful captions, which is often more moving than a movie conveys.

  28. Thanks for following my blog D! I think yours is pretty cool too. To answer your question, I think everything creative comes from the soul. The soul may be the only part of us that is protected from the world. It is pure, free, and full of wealth to share with others.

  29. Thank you for liking “Mer” and for following Moonlight Gallery. I agree that pain and difficulties are an unavoidable part of life, but I am not sure where poetry and art are born. People create art and poetry for different reasons. For some people, art and poetry are a way to cope with or escape from pain and difficulty, while others create poetry and art because they love to do these things. They may have a natural talent for creating poetry and art and want to perfect their skills in these areas. As I ponder the questions in this post, I do wonder where the need to create comes from and why some people are more swayed by it than others.

  30. I recently posted a little piece of art, and this line within the post:
    “Does life imitate art, or art imitate life?”.. “To me, God’s creation, and its awe-inspiring beauty is the art, and the “Muses.” So, yes, in my opinion life imitates art.”
    Thereto, deep seated emotions oft times paint beautiful songs.

  31. Thanks for liking my christmas greeting. I feel honored.
    To me, it´s when I find myself trapped in between four walls in a liferoom without windows and just a to small door. When I feel controled and not beeing able to live the life I want/need to live. Then art and poetry is born in me as a creative way of getting out.

  32. Firstly: ten thousand!!! Wow! Well done you!! Has it made a difference?
    Secondly: I do not agree with the author.
    Although the poem is beautifully expressed and makes my work seem childish and ineffectual, life’s warmth can invoke poetry just as easily.

  33. While no one can speak for another, for me expression of emotions is the catalyst for creative endeavor, whether written word, photography, art or any number of other outlets. I had a humanities teacher who gave me some good advice once in school. She said your best work will always come from experience. She was right. I suppose it could be a sad commentary on my life that much of my writing has been born of sorrow and pain; but I don’t look at it that way. Without these experiences, how would I begin to understand the suffering of others? I actually find it most difficult to express feelings of immense joy and ecstasy. There just don’t seem to be appropriate words to describe my emotions at those times and, well, I’m just too darn happy to be bothered by writing about it! Thanks for another great post.

  34. To me, art is a point of connection. For the artist, it is a connection to whatever emotion/mood/experience they are compelled to express. And for the beholder, a connection to that expression. It can come from great pain or great joy or even the most seemingly mundane moments. The art is found in its honesty.

  35. I just wanted to say hi and thank you for following my humble little blog.
    I think that art and poetry can be born from beauty and joy but for me, pain and difficulty breeds more inspiration. My project, Outcry, is proving the truth of this. Each poem that is making the cut so far is about a struggle, and often about deep-seated pain (whether overcome or not). Poetry is cathartic, and after all I’ve, and the people I love, have been through, I find the vulnerability of pain needs to be expressed.

  36. Thanks for stopping by my blog and congratulations on 5 years!
    Art & Poetry imprints our aches on the universe – relieved, we can go on to sprout new wings or not, either way we fall into these camps – the cyclical or cynical.
    Keep up the good work!! It gives me hope :)

  37. Congratulations, your private domain has come a long way in five years. I very much agree with this:

    ‘I write because of the people inside of my head– only I can hear them, and it seems unfair not to let them have access to the world outside.’

  38. Thank you for the very interesting discussion. I’m feeling especially contemplative this Christmas Eve, and this “hits the spot”. I would have to agree (personally) with the sentiments expressed in the above quote, however, I recognize that this is not the case for everyone.

    Thank you, by the way, for following my blog. I am just getting started and was encouraged by your opening statement (“December five years ago, this blog was almost my private domain. Not many visited, still fewer left comments.”). This is a scary journey for me to undertake, but am hoping for the best. :) Thanks again. Looking forward to your contributions.

  39. Whenever I let myself conceive thoughts (the process of reflecting), then there is born poetry/art, no matter from pain or happiness. Sometimes the emotion holds things for later reflection and I hope by the time the fingers hit the keys, the freshness is still there. Congratulations Damyanti on your followers, well-deserved for such great discussions and the motivation you give us!

  40. Why does there always have to be pain and deceit those lives as i have just began to learn about poetry? Knowing love is always big, what of imagination?

    It seems sad that things will end in such away for myself, not having learned the art of writing poetry from childhood, but just begun….

  41. I think art was created after a moment of chaos or boredom. There is no creativity in order, no creativity in absence of chaos. If you are at ease, you just hum an old song, you seldom compose one!
    Art- Popular since 10,000 B.C.

  42. Pingback: Sweet Sharing Wordsmith Award 2013 - Sweet Sharing

  43. Hi there Damyanti, I’m interested in your comment about growing your blog in the last five years. What do you think have been the main reasons/aspects of your blog that have caused it to gain its following? Is it regular posting, following other people, commenting on their comments?
    I’m not really using my page as a blog in the sense of posting everyday. It’s more of a place to display completed writing. Although I could comment on life and daily experience etc. that’s not my purpose. Do you think the blog can only grow if it has regular daily posts? Is it staying current and interactive, regardless of content that’s the key to amassing a following? Many thanks for your time, Dom Carter

  44. I’ll keep it simple cos I have tosleep. Goethe is a fine example on how sources can vary . its not all about suffering. Its everything. Bot h reason and the submlimal. Have a good night everyone. Oh ps: I love the quote BTW ;)

  45. Speaking mainly as a writer/occasional poet, I’d say poetry and art come from inspiration (vague, I know). I recall that Michelangelo used to say he didn’t create his sculptures. Rather, he saw them in the rock and did what he could to free them. When I write, I often feel the same way. I can feel the shape of the story, as if it’s already written in my head and I’m just struggling to find the words I need to tell it. I don’t know if I answered your question, but it was fun to try. Congratulations on getting so many followers and thanks for the like and follow on my blog. :)

    • Thanks for the comment and dropping by. Sometimes, I can see the shape of a story in my head– like a puppy who must dig out a hidden bone. At others, I’m like a kitten playing with a ball of yarn, getting all tangled and having fun.

  46. Hi! Thanks for visiting and following Peacock Quills and Cake Crumbs! Its just a baby, with a long way to go! I really enjoy reading your blog…as far as poetry goes, I feel that pain is definitely a trigger to get the creative flow going. On the other hand, beauty can also trigger and inspire poetry. Perhaps whatever emotion stirs the waters of tranquility will inspire the poet to write! There is a fine line between pain and happiness, so they say!

  47. I am writing to heal my heart; others call my words evocative, to me they are expressions of my pain. I know my words are controversial. Does this make them art? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that they are helping me heal. So perhaps for me, my art is born of pain and of love. I am considering a 365 blogging challenge; your work inspires me. Thank you!

    • I don’t blog 365 days a year– but I do write. I hope some day you’re given the opportunity to create art out of your joy, and I wish you lots of peace and happiness.

  48. Wonderful post! I agree that pain and difficulties both give rise to certain art. But not ALL art. A lot of art is born of inspiration, reverence, and let’s face it, just sheer compulsion. That is how most dancers feel, drawn to the craft for no discernible reason, but drawn uncontrollably. I also believe the opposite is true, pursuit of great art can LEAD to pain and difficulty. I guess that proposes a sort of “chicken or the egg” scenario. Anyway, love this blog and thanks for visiting me at xballerina!!

  49. Poetry and art are born
    in a place inside some minds
    of some people
    who see what is happening around them
    sense a connectedness to it
    and find a way to express it.

    It is not always in need of strife
    but it involves a mind
    that sees patterns in the surrounding world
    that it tries to make sense of
    and the only way it can make a sense
    is by creating a montage
    of words
    sounds
    or images.

    Some impressions deep and cutting
    some some intrinsic
    some ephemeral
    like an essay on a place
    in a space of time
    that is captured.

  50. I see the point of Natsume’s quote and agree with some of it. There is no question that art can arise from a difficult situation. Some of the really great music of our generation was created by artists who were caught up in bad situations. Music then became their outlet to address the problem.

    On a bigger scale, I think just as much art comes from merely observing life and being a social critic. Every day you wake up is another opportunity to explore the world around you use it as your inspiration to create something memorable.

    Congrats on your blog’s success. How did you you do it?

  51. Pingback: Where, according to you, are #poetry and #art born? | earthmuther's Blog

  52. I’m really impressed that you’ve been writing your blog for 5 years. I almost forgot (I mean decades of amnesia) that writing is a necessity for me. I have to reach my mind back to middle school days when I used to love writing and my words flowed easily. Since that’s a long time ago, and much harder to access, I look to others for inspiration. :). I love reading words written by people who love to write.

  53. I believe true art is born out of life experiences, dreams, hopes. A lot of things that make a person think seriously about life. When people say they only care about their art and nothing else, they create soulless art. In my opinion a true artist should care about a lot of things and express them through his art.

    • I think a true artist does care about a lot of things, but is so willing to sacrifice them at the altar of his art. Yes, true art is created from life experiences, but in their depiction, the artist thinks not of life-truths, but universal art-truths….if that makes any sense.

  54. Hi Damyanti! These things certainly take time to grow don’t they? You’ve given me hope that some day I too will convince people I’m worth reading. Thanks for stopping by my blog – any and all feedback and criticism is really appreciated.

    Love,
    Stu

I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !

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