Gugolev’s response to this question is thought provoking, but a bit arch. I wonder how many poets and writers sit down to write by saying, “I’m going to explore this theme?” On the other hand, I could easily point out what broad thematic category my poems fall into.
One of my teachers said all poems are about death, and he was only half joking.
Usually I have a feeling, an image, a thought, or even a tangle of all three, that I start to work out in a free write. But when I look at many of the poems and stories I’ve written this last year, most of them revolve around sex, love, and death.
What do you think? How would you respond to the question? Do you set out to explore a theme? Are you working on a particular project in which each story or poem is somewhat planned from the beginning? Or do you write individual poems that in the end seem to make a cohesive whole?