Stained Glass poetry concentrates on how beautifully and creatively something is written, how deeply layered its metaphors may be, and so on. Plate Glass poetry generally concentrates on stories, images, and emotions, while the writing sort of stays out of the way as best it can.
Most of the poetry I write falls into the Plate Glass category, though I do occasionally wander into Stained Glass territory. This might be because I was not a student of poetry before becoming a poet. I had things I wanted to express, so I just started writing and let the words arrange themselves as seemed right. Later, when I became a creature of the internet, I used workshops and others’ observations and critiques to get better at writing in my own poetic voice.
I’m still not a student of poetry. If you read something of mine and find it to be a perfect example of some classic form of poetry, it’s probably sheer coincidence that the words found their places in that order when I arranged them to say what I wanted to say. I rarely set out to write in any particular form. I generally set out to write with a story to tell, or a place, or something emotional in mind, and the form finds itself as I write.
In fact, I suspect that my poetic voice has been influenced more profoundly by my three and a half decade career as a salesweas…er, as a salesman than it was by any classic or academic poetry to which I’ve been exposed. The habits of close observation and empathy, developed and practiced in trying to make a living on sales commissions, are among the major components that shape the subjects and objects of the poetry that I write. Those subjects and objects then inform the final forms of the words and the styles in which they prefer to present themselves.
So, all that sales training and practice made me better at this poetry thing than I would otherwise have been. I can think of at least one past sales manager who would’ve resented being accused of accidentally helping me to become a better poet. This makes me smile, so I’ll stop here.