Yesterday, I was sitting at my desk, rather pleased with myself over the completion of a new piece, when my cell phone began its sporadic death-spasm of vibration that usually indicates a new message. (Cellular phones do not, in fact, appreciate coffee-baths.) An acquaintance of mine was looking over my blog and wanted to offer his thoughts, excerpts below:
“As a friendly suggestion, it would look better if you added pictures to your poetry. It helps explain the poem and people like to see the color.”
This is not the first time I’ve been questioned on my apparent refusal to use images to accompany my work. There is method to my madness, and reason behind my logic. My explanation (an excerpt) was as follows:
“… I am of the belief that a poem should have the freedom to take a reader where it will; adding an image only restricts the imagination. If the entire piece is devoted to the verbal portrayal of a single image, and yet you have that image, in the form of an image, the poem would be unnecessary. It is my opinion that adding an image to accompany a piece of poetry distracts, more than it adds to the interpretation of said work.”
If I was out in the woods and saw some scenic view that inspired me, sure, I might add that image. Otherwise, I wouldn’t feel that I owned the work I published. The image wouldn’t belong to me, personally, I dislike that idea. Besides, then I would need to either search for public domain images or request the permissions of the artist.
What if I chose an image that turned the viewer off of the piece before ever read it? Some readers will completely ignore a piece if they don’t care for the image associated, for any number of reasons.
I still hold to this opinion. Also, I enjoy the crisp, neat and clean appearance of my blog. This doesn’t mean I dislike poets, or pieces that differ from that, it is a personal preference which I feel feeds into the creative processes. Another poet may tell you that they feel the complete opposite, and that would be fine. Poetry is a form of expression, and the beautiful thing about self-expression is that you may express yourself in whatever form or manner best suits your design. For my poetry, this is my choice. I appreciate the differences between my stylistic choices and those of others, and thus I appreciate each work, each choice, for what it is.
So, in closing, no, you are not experiencing page-loading difficulties, I do not post images to accompany my work. Yes, I appreciate the suggestion, but that one I don’t intend on changing. Clearly, I’m in the minority on that opinion, and I would love to hear your thoughts. How do you feel about pairing pictures with poetry?