Yesterday the OctPoWriMo Challenge officially launched itself into the world of poets and word-lovers. Participants surprised me: some hadn’t written any poems for years and somehow the magic of participating in a group setting let all those years of pent up poetry come pouring out.
The words are shy, tentative at first, but then a torrent of thoughts and images.
How about you? Do you want to write poetry?
When I first started writing poetry, I made a critical mistake: I didn’t READ poetry other than my own, unless you count the occasional Blue Mountain Arts Greeting Card.
I was still somehow in the “I don’t get what these poets are trying to tell me!” that some teachers tell us in English classes in high school and college. I attended open mics and listened to local poets, but it wasn’t until I was asked to facilitate an open mic or two that I actually started reading other poets.
It started with checking out children’s poetry books and stumbling into some great “How to Write Poetry” book. I figured if I was actually seen as a leader of poets I should know something more than I did, after all. These simple how-to books sometimes included poetic examples.
I discovered with delight poetry does not have to be difficult. Poetry does not even need to be understood. (There will be a book list at the end of this blog post. Please don’t leap ahead, stay right here and continue reading.)
I finally got it: Poetry lives and breathes and you may read the same poem three hundred twelve times and come up with three hundred twelve different, valid interpretations and commentary.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, “One should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his or her life, on order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense beauty implanted upon the human soul.”
Are you compelled at all? There are poetry groups and websites all over the internet and across communities including, most likely, yours. If you are interested in checking out OctPoWriMo and possibly joining its supportive community of poets, visit – and the facebook page which is connected yet will continue after October is here.
Poet suggestions some exceptional, modern poets for you to check out and READ:
Books to stir your creative imagination via the poems within them:
Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson. There are a series of these books of poetry for Young People. These are the originial poems - not anything "dumbed down" but the illustrations urge the reader to take her time. I also love the Robert Frost version.
I can't leave without suggesting you visit some thrift stores for poetry. They are great places to discover poetry gems. In Bakersfield we have a good will store that focuses solely on books so everything is categorized. If you are able to find any of the "Best American Poetry" with a Year in the Title, you will have a treasure in your hands. I have discovered many new poets this way. Very inspiring. Just last night I had to control myself from sending a fan girl letter to Clare Rossini whose poem Valediction stirred me deeply. It was published in 1997. I just bought the book for a dollar. Great investment! Oh, and I did like Rossini's facebook page and blathered to her there. It somehow felt less creepy.
Other Helpful Links:
How to Read Poetry Aloud by Billy Collins
Poetry and Pleasure by Thomas McGill
Be sure to "Like" WritingCampwithJJS on Facebook (THANK YOU!)
© 2012 by Julie Jordan Scott
Julie Jordan Scott has been a Life & Creativity Coach, Writer, Facilitator and Teleclass Leader since 1999. She is also an award winning Actor, Director, Artist and Mother Extraordinaire. She was twice the StoryTelling Slam champion in Bakersfield. She leads Writing Camp with JJS & this Summer will be traveling throughout the US to bring this unique, fun filled creative experience to the people wherever she finds the passion & the interest.
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