Monday, March 06, 2006

The Power of Poetry

A little yahoo: One of my poems was published at The Angry Poet - here -on Friday.

I like reading poetry, and I love writing it. For me, poetry is the quick fix I most rely on to keep my creative juices churning when I’m otherwise buried in nonfiction work or spinning my wheels with my wip. Though I’ve never read “The Artist’s Way,” even though one of my critique buddies has generously let me borrow her copy several times, writing poetry feels like something that would show up in that book, because it’s a very relaxing and organic process. It’s also a great exercise in working “out of the box” for these reasons:

* It’s an internally motivated and personally fulfilling process. You can write for yourself; critics be damned.
* You can follow your inspiration and disregard structure; everything goes.
* You can experiment with language in short form, trying out new words and perfecting rhythms.
* You can play with new voice possibilities or styles.
* You can produce something from beginning to end quickly--an accomplishment which can translate into fuel when you’re feeling otherwise burnt out or blocked.
Just as you don’t have to share your long fiction with anyone unless and until you're ready, you don’t have to share your poetry; it’s the process not the product that’s most important here. But if you do want to submit your poetry, there are a lot of options open to you, including online magazines like The Angry Poet. Be cautious with poetry contests, though, as scam artists abound. Winning Writers has a great list of warning signs to check out here.

Even if you don't have time to write it, you can get a lot out of reading quality poetry. I highly recommend The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor for a daily fix.


Blogger Elena Greene said...

To me, writing a poem feels rather like trying to do a back flip (I am no gymnast and even in grade school barely mastered the backwards somersault). But I'm more of a storysmith than a wordsmith.

I think your suggestion is right on target for novelists of a different bent. I do think I should read more poetry, though.

Elena, adding the Writer's Almanac to her links :)

10:46 AM  
Blogger Therese Walsh said...

I just stumbled across this quote, and I'm kicking myself for not finding it earlier. Here 'tis:

Poetry is a special use of language that opens onto the real. The business of the poet is truth telling, which is why in the Celtic tradition no one could be a teacher unless he or she was a poet.
- Huston Smith

10:47 PM  

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