This April Celebrate National Poetry Month

Poetry is a shorthand method for communicating ideas and emotions. “Poetry is an expression that can help you communicate things that you might not otherwise know how to express explicitly, or that for whatever reason would be more effectively expressed metaphorically,” said Digital Marketer and Writer Simon A. Thalmann.

“When I thought no one could understand or would listen to me, poems poured out of me. I didn’t write the poems, they wrote me,” said poet and Chief Storytelling Officer, Tami Belt. Belt published Poetic Justice: Lessons of Love, Life & Relationships and says re-reading poems has provided her with unique insight and inspiration of her journey.

President of the Michigan College English Association Janet Ruth Heller, Ph.D. has taught English, Creative Writing, and Women’s Studies for thirty-five years within eight colleges and universities. She expressed that the details in poems appeal to the readers’ five senses. Heller shared the most important aspects of a good poem include:

  1.      Original ideas
  2.      Effective images
  3.      Powerful word choice
  4.      Appropriate structure
  5.      Rhythm

Writing Poetry
If you are considering writing poetry, keep in mind that poetry can improve other writing styles. “When the words do not flow, it is important to do some jumping jacks or warm-ups and give yourself permission to write crap.”, according to Executive Coach and Writer Elizabeth McCourt of McCourt Leadership Group. “You never know what nugget of gold you’ll find.”.

“Also, remember that rhyming is not a requirement in poetry, it is just the frosting on the cake.”, shared Heller. “Poetry is a vehicle that can be used to uplift ourselves or society with words.”, according to poet Yanatha Desouvre.

Advice for Aspiring Poets
–  “Be yourself, write what’s in your heart, because only you can write it.” – Desouvre
–  “Never give up and be brave. Your art is meant to be shared.” – Poet Sonya Watson
–  “Experiment with other forms [of writing], learn the rules, then break them deliberately.” – McCourt
–  “If you write, you’re a writer; if you write poetry, you’re a poet. Don’t get lost in the peripherals of academic journals and competitions and ‘how to dress so you look like a poet’ etc. Just write. Do the work.” – Thalmann
– “Read and study to appreciate all kinds of poetry.” – Poet Jerry Blanton 

How to Get Involved
Visit your local bookstore, and settle in for a little reading or host a poetry party where friends bring their favorite poems. Find an event or revisit favorite poems or poets, and reflect on what the poem means, suggested Belt. Check out Poets.org for local poetry events.

If you have been meaning to write poetry, then start writing. If you have written poetry, then share it. If you want to share your poetry, then try reading in public or posting it online. Reading in public teaches the poet how valuable sound and emotion are in poetry, according to Blanton. Blanton suggests that every poet should take his or her poems to the public through readings.

Suggested Poets to Read
–  Maya Angelou
–  Langston Hughes
–  William Shakespeare
–  Zachary Schomburg
–  Russell Edson
–  Marge Piercy
–  Walt Whitman
–  Emily Dickinson
–  Robert Frost
–  William Blake
–  Adrianne Rich
–  Wallace Stevens