Consider Writing Poetry Even if You’re Not a Poet

How many of you write poetry? Raise your hands.

I thought so.

Well, if you are convinced that poetry is not your thing, think again. Even if you have no desire to be a published poet, you ought to try writing some. Why?

* Writing poetry can be a great way to warm up your writing skills like a singer warms up her voice. By the time you finish a poem, your muse is engaged and ready to tackle the main writing of the day.

* Poetry forces you to be concise, to leave out unnecessary words and search for exactly the right words. If, like me, you tend to be too wordy in your prose, it can  help you streamline your writing.

* Poetry uses images, such as metaphors and similes, that can also enhance your prose.

* To write a good poem that says a lot in a few lines, you must figure out what you’re trying to say, another good skill for prose writers.

* A poem can become an outline or a Cliff Notes version of the longer story you want to tell in prose.

* Poetry forces you to slooooow down and ponder each word, something we don’t always take the time to do when writing prose.

* Writing poetry is fun, especially if you’re not worrying about where you can get your poems published.

* Poets are very, very cool.

If you haven’t looked at poetry in a while, read what some modern poets are doing. Today’s poem does not have to rhyme or fit into a complicated form, although it still can.

It’s true that there’s no money in poetry and most of our friends and relatives never touch the stuff, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing. Poems convey a thought, a feeling or an experience in a few words, just like Twitter, without the hashtags. Try it.

Here are four books and a website to help you get started.

The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux

Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words by Susan Wooldridge

The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop by Diane Lockward

Writing the Life Poetic: An Invitation to Read and Write Poetry by Sage Cohen

Poetic Asides blog

Now go write.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

6 Comments on “Consider Writing Poetry Even if You’re Not a Poet”

  1. drew myron says:

    Thanks for the poetry plug, Susan.
    Your book suggestions are spot-on. “Poemcrazy” is my very favorite — gets me revved up to write every single time.

  2. […] to, and to all who have a taste for comprehensible language used to great effect. Related articlesConsider Writing Poetry Even if You’re Not a PoetPoetess Ananya Chatterjee Speaks Her Mind more […]

  3. […] Consider Writing Poetry Even if You’re Not a Poet […]

  4. […] Consider Writing Poetry Even if You’re Not a Poet […]

  5. […] of the form and those studying poetry as literature, this is a good book. Related articlesConsider Writing Poetry Even if You’re Not a PoetThe poets at war (and in anthologies)Myths About Modern Poetry: An Interview with Poet Dawn […]

  6. […] Consider Writing Poetry Even if You’re Not a Poet […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s