Strong Emotions About Poetry

I spent a great portion of my life trying to avoid poetry. In college, as a creative writing major, I worked out my schedule with my advisor to limit the amount of poetry instruction to a 2-week period during an introductory class. Even then, I enjoyed bits and pieces of my instruction, largely because the class was with my favorite professor. Then, when senior year rolled around and I was looking at the difference between writing several longer papers for creative non-fiction or many short pieces for a poetry class, I shocked my advisor and asked to switch.

It happened to be the second to last year teaching for a wonderful professor who also happened to be a great poet. It was from him that I realized that poetry could be fun and that form didn’t have to be only limiting, it could also be freeing. I started to read poetry, because I had to, and discovered that I liked some of it. By the end of the class, I thought of myself as a poet as well as a fiction writer. I began to pull out some of the poems I’d written for class in the past, to hone and work with until they shone. I began to collect contact information for literary journals and use it, submitting poetry.

Since graduation, I’ve not written nearly as much as I would like. Poetry has fallen to the wayside in light of “real life.” But I want to remember something that I learned from that time, that poetry is one way to deal with “real life” and that using poetry, and indeed, writing in general, it is possible to make sense of what you find yourself doing, thinking and being.

April is National Poetry Month, something brought about in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets in order to raise awareness about poetry. This year I am celebrating.

I want to read poetry, write poetry, write about poetry. I want to remember what captured me senior year. I want to share this journey with you, my loyal readers, and so I will share some of my favorite forms, poems, poets, and ideas for writing prompts with you this month. I hope that you will share any inspiration you find as well, including new poets or poems you may have discovered. I’d love any feedback you have regarding what you’d like to see on the blog this month as well.

Happy National Poetry Month!