Wordsmith Wednesday–Poetry and Prose

2006 National Poetry Month poster, designed by...

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Since April is National Poetry Month, I think it’s important to pay homage to this sometimes undervalued art. Many prose writers, especially those who write literary fiction, dabble in poetry–either as readers or poets–and find that doing so enriches their own work. Here are a few things to consider:


  • Engages the senses
  • Pays attention to details
  • Uses symbolic language
  • Expresses thoughts succinctly
  • Respects the rhythm and sound of words
  • Makes use of metaphor and simile
  • Uses description to express feelings
  • Breaks the rules!

I invite you to treat yourself to a book of poetry, brew a cup of tea or coffee. Now, hunker down in your favorite chair and read. My personal preference is for poets who are not so obscure that you need a lit professor to help interpret their work. Here are just a few of my favorites, most of them contemporary: Ted Kooser, Kim Addonizio, Jane Hirschfiled, Jane Kenyon, Ellen Bass, William Carlos Williams, Pablo Neruda, Dorianne Laux. Stanley Kunitz. Consider browsing poetry blogs and websites and sample some of the excellent poetry that is there for the taking.

Happy writing. Enjoy the process…and try writing a poem of your own. If you’d like to post it in comments, I’d love to share it.

9 thoughts on “Wordsmith Wednesday–Poetry and Prose

  1. Jingle says:

    beautiful thoughts.


    bless your Mother, hope she is doing better.


  2. Jamie Dedes says:

    Bravo, Victoria! A wise and wonderful suggestion.

    Easter blessings,


  3. Frederik says:

    I haven’t written a poem in years… Last one I wrote was for a person I cared about… Uhm… care about 🙂 And it always feels so dishonest…

    Poetry is something I have such trouble getting into. I don’t think I’m mature enough to write a really good poem – but then I wonder, does maturity really matter when it comes to a Poem? Hmmm…

    I tried the other day and found myself falling into the habit of forced rhyming… Whenever I have too much red wine, my written words slip into rhyme… Whoops…

    I don’t know, does it make someone more of a lyricist if they are prone to writing poetry that rhymes?


  4. Luke Prater says:

    Right on! Where ya been, baby? Dig your words, always. Come post sometime 🙂



  5. trisha says:

    thanks again victoria. i use your suggestions quite a lot and my works are improving by following your tips.

    thanks and hugs.


  6. Artswebshow says:

    Poetry makes the world go round.
    I dont need to buy a poetry book as there is so much choice online. lol


  7. honeyhaiku says:

    You are a treasure to this writers online community. Thank you. http://honeyhaiku.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/tide-a-ghazal/


  8. Bodhirose says:

    Always grateful to you for your guidance and expertise, Victoria. xoxo


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