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.