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Dark poetry is the use of dark and often negative themes in a poetic manner. Instead of writing about such topic matters in a diary or story format, the writer has turned it into verse. Such poetry is linked to Gothic and horror genres as well as cultural and fashion subcultures in contemporary society. Writers, however, are from a wide variety of backgrounds and dwell on a range of themes.
Dark poetry can take all forms, from small structured haiku to long-form free verse. They can use traditional meter as well as employ rhyming methods. Dark poetry is not about style or structure, but is about content and Aristotle’s emotions.
These emotions can be both positive and negative. The poetry used in dark poetry can be both, and the darkness can come from within as well as being imposed on the protagonist from without. These emotions do not have to be violent. The horror spectrum of dark poetry may lean towards scares and gore, but a large portion of poetry has another connotation for the word ‘dark.’
The idea of darkness comes with a long-held fear of the dark and can present itself in a literal manner in dark poetry. Robert Frost’s “The Door in the Dark” is a prime example. This fear led to an expansion of horror stories and poems, as exemplified by Edgar Allen Poe. The term "dark" has also become figurative for an inner darkness, where the term represents pain and hurt.
Two distinct cultural groups came together to form a large slice of post-1980s dark poetry. Born out of Poe’s horror, the poetic form also took a large amount of influence from romances and broken hearts. In the 1990s, this found a place with the resurgence of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” with books such as “An Interview with a Vampire” and later on “Twilight” and “True Blood.” This has since combined with the emotional hardcore (emo) music and fashion culture that was born out of 1980s hardcore punk by bands such as Jawbreaker and Minor Threat.
Both forms drew upon longings, pain and hurts. Many also mixed in the supernatural and the horror as themes. Dark poetry has gained in popularity with the proliferation of the Internet and sites where users can post and comment on poems. It has tapped into the emotions of young people, especially young women, across the world.
Many writers of dark poetry find a form of catharsis in their writing. Aristotle, again in his “Poetics,” believed that the aim of poetry was an emotional catharsis and likened it to medical purges, but this time for the soul. Dark poetry is about baring pain and combing figurative and literal darkness. It is only natural that many people have found it a means of vocalizing pain and finding others who feel the same way.