Thursday, September 28, 2017

National Poetry Day (not for us in the US, but let's celebrate anyway).

I started out in college looking at poetry the way most of us do-annoyed at it. Annoyed because most of what I'd been exposed to or made to do was trite. Or boring. Or sometimes both, and sometimes worse.

I felt that way even though in middle school I'd often gone to sleep reading Gibran and Rumi. 

It wasn't until college that I was exposed to the raw stuff, the poems that you read that stuck with you forever. As if, in reading those lines, they burrowed into your brain like they were meant to be there. And the best ones even helped you make sense of the world, not unlike the way longer fictional stories do, but they are more powerful. Compact. A one-inch-punch. 

Don't assume you don't like poetry. 

Everyone likes poetry.

You just haven't found the lines that will burrow into your brain, yet. 

You can start with books of masterworks, ask your creative writing teacher to recommend a poem, or just start googling great poems. 

And try writing it, too. 

I think this is one of the more difficult kinds of work for me. Because there isn't room for the pacing or anything that can go into fiction, everything matters. Every word and pause impacts the overall piece. But I wanted to share a couple of short Haikus (you can find out more about them here if you want to try some of your own today and aren't already familiar with it). I think this form is one of the easiest to start with. It gives you an easy framework. 


Gazing at the blue
We are asking the cloud cover

To erase this spell.

The Last Word

It is all cracked
Learn to be a hummingbird
When the world is mad

A word can be poetry. Two words. Fridge magnet letters, or book spines, or receipts and instructions. Not everything is poetry (sometimes not even the damn poems). But it has the power to be that way. 

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