I started writing poetry a long time ago.
My Grandmother (Margaret Reese) gave me a notebook she'd decorated to write my poetry in. She also gave me a rhyming dictionary. (This was for my birthday). I can't remember exactly what age I was, but I was between eight and ten. I loved it. I wrote AWFUL poetry, but I loved it nonetheless. As I got older, poetry became, for me, a voice I didn't feel I had. It was a way for me to express all of the feels I was overwhelmed with. I started getting good at it, and I liked it. I had poems published in school papers and purchased for publication. The more I wrote, the more I would find myself in what I called "writing moods"-- a mix of melancholy, moody broodiness that was palpably alleviated when I wrote out what I was feeling in free verse. I continued writing until a few years after I got married. After that, I still wrote a little bit, but it was, again, just awful. Oh well. Life goes in cycles.
Lately, I've been feeling the "writing mood" again. What you've read in the last week or so is the result of this. But I find that I'm giving myself small challenges as I write. In Outburst, I wanted to play around with alliteration (I've long loved the lilt of alliteration). I wanted to be a little bit daring in Desire, and Blurry was inspired by two distinctly different experiences. I'd had the phrase "There are no words for this wanting" tumbling about in my brain for some time; I paired it with my dear friend's terrible experience of losing her baby. I can't pretend I know what her experience is like or what she is feeling, but I do remember how I felt after I miscarried some twenty years ago. I chose the title "Blurry" because I'm a big believer in the idea that our Heavenly Father can clearly see the big picture of our lives, even when we can only see a blurry section of the finished product. Lastly, I wanted to write what I think of as a "Gotcha" poem in By the Numbers--where the reader thinks the poem is about one idea, but at the end realizes it's something completely different. Since a lot of the "two" part of the poem is lifted from my life with my husband, I can tell you he was a bit concerned by the time he got to the end of it! (I reassured him that everything was fine between us, and that he had nothing to worry about).
Which leads me to my final reasons for writing poetry: Poetry is powerful. It changes you. I taught a poetry unit to my ELD class while student teaching last spring. We did formula poems--things like "Just Because" and "Where I'm From" and I wanted them to get the idea that poetry could be a voice for them to say things that they wouldn't ordinarily feel comfortable saying. It became an experience that is hard to describe. When I started the unit, NONE of the students wanted to write poetry. As I wrapped up the unit, EVERY student begged me to continue--they wanted to write poetry more than they wanted to do anything else in their English language development. I think that in a small way, it changed their lives. I was glad, because I understood--writing poetry definitely changed my life.
In my own poems, I choose each word carefully, wanting to say as much as I possible can with only a few words. It is my hope that what I write strikes a chord in my readers, and maybe helps them process their grief, or helps them find their own voice to say what they need. To help you find a palpable relief that someone understands what you are feeling.
And maybe you'll be inspired to write some of your own poetry. (Even if it's awful).