Why do you write poetry? – Andy Jackson

I asked a bunch of poets the above question. I’ll feature their answers here each week until I run out or find more poets to answer the question

Andy Jackson says:

“Why do I write poetry?  There’s no comprehensive answer.  Much of it is, I suspect, unconscious and mysterious.

But the bulk of it is, I’d say, a way to reach towards self-transcendence.  In other words, when I write, I’m trying to understand something about my interaction with the world, by writing through it, hoping that I can phrase it in a way that reaches other people, goes beyond my own consciousness, my own perspective.  I am trying to get over myself.

Which implies, I guess, that poetry for me is an attempt at communication with others.  But I am also trying to communicate with myself, convince myself of what potentials my life is capable of.  Whoever the audience is, and however they take it (because, in the end, a poem is not an argument but a room, an environment, a place people enter and experience in their own ways), I am trying to spark something unexpected, humane and counter-cultural.

I also just love the resistance language puts up, the fact that the poem in my head is never the poem on the page…”

Drop by next week for another answer from another poet.


Poet. Author. Beard. Husband. Dad. Four chickens. Dog. Cat. I can sometimes fix my lawnmower.

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Posted in the writing process, why do you write poetry?
3 comments on “Why do you write poetry? – Andy Jackson
  1. ashleycapes says:

    Awesome – ‘poetry is not an argument but a room…people enter’!

    Fantastic, Andy – and a great idea, Adam!

  2. Alec Patric says:

    Transcendence is a difficult word to use these days. The spiritual discourse that such a term is bound to, is mostly relegated to the genre-ghetto of the New Age. So it’s great to see the term reclaimed. Yes, writing can often be a kind of revelation of both self and world. It need not carry a religious stigma, but it does. So I found a kind of bravery to Andy’s thoughts on why he writes poetry.

    One thing though that I’ve never agreed with, (at least never experienced myself) is the poem as a pristine vision. For me, the page/screen is both the veil and the conduit. I might have an idea of what I’d like to write about, a few phrases, but I discover my poem via composition. If I already had the poem before putting it down, I don’t know if I’d bother. The actual writing of the piece would cease to be the break-through, or ‘transcendence,’ Andy’s talking about.

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