Poetry: Enjoy It by Cheyenne

What I love about poetry is its ability to be concise and exemplify simplicity through abstract phrases. Poetry is a novel condensed into emotions, thoughts, feelings, or even memories. To me, the purpose of poetry is to say little, but make the reader feel as if they have read a long book. A successful poem lets the final word linger for a moment on your tongue and hover at the back of your mind just long enough for you to wonder what possessed the author to compose it.

Successful poems do not have to rhyme. In fact, many great poems like Sylvia Plath’s “Mirror” and Robert Frost’s “A Time to Talk” do not rhyme at all. Instead, they focus on providing a look into the character’s thoughts or actions. “Mirror” is a hauntingly psychotic poem probing the reader to look at their own state of mind, while “A Time to Talk” is short and sweet, providing a message of “smelling the roses.” The writers made these poems amazing by taking the time to deliver a lasting effect on the reader, to keep their words echoing in the audiences’ heads.

If you worry about poem length, the best advice I can offer to you is this: don’t. A poem can be as long or as short as you’d like it to be. It can be two lines, or two hundred lines. What matters is that in the span of those lines, you gave the message you wanted the readers to receive. Roman poet Catullus wrote an astounding poem “Odi et Amo” (I Hate and I Love) that was a mere two lines long, but perfectly described his conflicting feelings for his mistress Lesbia without hardly saying anything at all. On the other hand, epics composed by Homer are poetic novels hundreds of lines in length that are incredibly popular for their mystical descriptions and fantastic plots.

This NaPoWriMo, enjoy the nature of poetry writing. Look up poems online and find poetry videos on YouTube (I recommend Pearls of Wisdom and Button Poetry for great inspiration—these two YouTube channels got me through even the stickiest of writer’s block). Keep the creative juices flowing. Even if you don’t like poems or poetry writing, read some poems this month and find something you appreciate about a poem you read. It might the author’s way of describing love, or how enchantingly an author describes a mystifying dream. Find something that touches your tongue at the same time it touches your heart, and keep it close when you need a creative boost.

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Posted on April 12, 2017, in Editorial Board Essay, Student Writing. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I liked reading this, Cheyenne! For a very long time, I only wrote poetry that rhymed or was pretty long. For some reason, I didn’t consider anything other than long and rhyming actual poetry.

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