It was all Darleen's fault. In 2014 she created the 'Dark Dreamscapes Poetry Contest' on Writing.com, and it was my first real introduction to poetry that fell in the dark or horror/scary genres. I didn't expect to like it, because I am a romantic and I like my happy endings. I don't like horror movies. I only read books that have happy endings, however much the hero or heroine are tortured along the way. But Darleen was a friend, so I ventured in.
My first entry, a few months after the contest started, wasn't particularly dark (more like a light grey), but it was a start, and Darleen cheered me on. I read some of the other entries, and while dark, they were very good. They had a certain dark beauty, as only poetry can have. The more I read, the more I practiced, and the better I got. That's how it works, right? I won an honourable mention in September 2014 with my poem 'Alone' and was so thrilled. I never thought I could write anything dark, poetry or prose, and I was doing it! I kept entering as often as I could, and in June 2015 I won second place with 'Haunted'. I intend to keep working hard at it in the hope of one day writing something worthy of first place.
For me, the darkness is alleviated by the beautiful words we choose. Despite the great many number of books I read, a thesaurus will always be my favourite. I use it all the time. Instead of dark, we have shadowy or I play with the idea of soot or pitch. Instead of horror we could use terror or dread... Being able to play with the words doesn't detract from the theme of the poem, but it lends a certain elegance.
For some, dark poetry is a way of expressing their pain, lancing their wounds. There is a reason that poetry is so popular with people who are struggling to deal with their emotions. It gives them a voice. Just never make the mistake of assuming that a poem tells you about a poet's personal feelings or history. Mine rarely do, and that kind of assumption is careless.
Have you tried to write dark poetry? I dare you to give it a try. Paint dark pictures with your words, and cloak them in exquisite grace and sophistication.
Leave a comment and share your favourite dark poem with me . It can be one you wrote, or one written by someone else (appropriately credited of course!).