Poetry is the oldest and most important form of Indian literature. Indian poets in a country with diverse cultures have explored various themes from the Freedom fight of India to today’s farmer’s struggles. Every person has endless thoughts and unspoken feelings in their heart, but very few people express them freely with their words. And even fewer people are gifted to be poets. Even in a similar language and writing style, poets develop their way of expression.
How to be a Poet?
Like engineering, medicine or law, there is no particular degree one has to pursue to become a poet. Nevertheless, having some skills to become a successful poet is essential. And to develop these skills, following or taking up writing courses is necessary. It is also helpful to know the history of poetry and get familiar with the works of famous poets and topics you are interested in to know your style.
To be a poet, it is essential to know the basics of poetry. Many people assume that in poetry, it is necessary to use rhyming words. But it is just a writing style. Poets use metaphors to convey the message. Haikus, free verse, and ballads are different styles of poetry one can explore. A poem doesn’t have to be necessarily significant but can also be short. Instead of using simple words, poets use descriptive terms to enhance the meaning. It is essential to offer a perspective to people and let people feel the poetry by allowing them to capture the image of the poem.
One of the ways to be a poet is to pursue a degree or diploma in creative writing. Degrees or certificates do not offer only poetry courses. Degrees like liberal arts, creative writing, humanities or literature can build exposure to different writing forms and styles. They give you the background in technical skills like syntax, spelling, vocabulary and grammar rules. Setting a tone, using metaphors, creating a visual image, and developing a unique style can be learnt through a degree or a certificate program.
If you want to choose to be a poet, it is essential to consider it as a career path and chart out potential themes or styles you would like to experiment with and write on. Also, keep up with the current trend and statistics of Poetry. Knowing your market, building an audience and collaborating and supporting fellow poets can come in hand for you.
Themes for Poets.
A poet, especially if you are in India, can explore a wide range of themes. One can almost say that there are an infinite number of topics to write on if you live in India. The most common themes poetry revolves around in India are romance, life and death, nature, beauty in little things, politics, and social issues. Indian poets contributed tremendously to the freedom fight against British colonial rule of India. Even recently, poets have emphasized their words to support the farmers’ struggles in India. The most important advice any poet or writer would give is to write about what you know and experience. Only by expressing one’s feelings and thoughts and exploring the depths of oneself can poets reach out and touch the hearts of their audience.
Build Global Reach.
Social media is a great way to increase your audience with the right marketing skills. It is a convenient way to reach an audience globally. Several platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can give you a head start with creating a social media influencer page with less investment. A solid social media presence helps beginners reach publishing houses quickly. You can further get feedback from the audience, connect with fellow poets and collaborate with brands to promote them. Another advantage of using social media for poets is that they can join contests, writing clubs, and communities and stay in touch with the poetry world.
Build a Resume.
You heard it right. Call it a resume, CV or portfolio; having one is essential as it gives a quick record of all your work and helps people understand your art form. But also helps in taking up different paths like script writing, copywriting, etc.
Struggles of Poets in India.
Be it a fresher or an experienced one, and there are always struggles a person has to face in their writing journey. The most challenging thing is that poetry cannot be the poets’ primary income source. Only 5% of poets in India earn the money of their book or work’s worth in India. Poets face difficulties in keeping up with their day-to-day expenses focusing solely on Poetry.
The main reason why poetry is not a standard form of earning is that publishing houses pay poets ridiculously low for their work. Independent or self-publishing in India comes with investment, and not everyone can afford it. Writing as a profession has reached its full potential but hasn’t reached its peak when it comes to becoming a business.
Becoming a poet in India, even with a good publishing house, is difficult, as there is a lack of encouragement for poetry in India. Even with biggies like Rabindranath Tagore or Sarojini Naidu, people do not find Poetry an important or an exciting profession to pursue. Moreover, with the development of tv shows, and movies, the mainstream media hasn’t supported poets in India with an open heart.
Another problem poets in India face, they don’t have time to write. 90% of poets come from a working background. They are compelled to find the balance between their 9 to 5 jobs and writing hours. People recognize the output of the Poet, but they fail to acknowledge that the hours put into writing something are billable. Working on writing something is also work, and yet writing is not considered a regular job.