04 April 2012

The Experience of Poetry

I think it's particularly appropriate that my poetry group started meeting just before National Poetry Month started, don't you?

I'd forgotten how much I like poetry, really. I took a poetry-writing class in college, and I liked the challenge of conciseness and strong imagery. And, as I'm sure many of you can figure, my prose benefited from writing poetry.

I think this poetry group is going to keep reminding me that poetry is an important component of literature. Sure, I'm a prose writer, and when it comes to the bulk of my work, I probably always will be. But writing poetry from time to time is a good thing, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to delve into poetry--mine or other people's, both published unpublished--every other week or so.

The writer in me wishes we were meeting weekly, but I know I wouldn't be able to go every week, and I'm sure many others would not be able to, either. So I'm happy with twice a month for now.

I was feeling particularly adventurous tonight at poetry group, so I read an original poem. It's a new one, and still needs work, but it was important to me to share because of the subject's influence on my life right now. Sorry about the vagueness, but I can't discuss more right now (when I can, I will).

It took a great deal of courage for me to read my poem tonight. I used to willingly share my writing with other writers and with my professors, welcoming feedback to improve. But in recent years I've been a different person. I became quite a bit more closed off (to a lot of things). I'm happy to say that reading my poem tonight is one of the signs that I'm getting back to my old self--my real self.

And, if I may be cheesy again for a moment, poetry is helping.

Poetry is an experience. By reading about others' experiences and writing accounts of my own experiences, I'm facing aspects of myself that I used to be afraid of. I'm able to process things I'm going through with a clarity that can only come from verse.

The challenge in writing poetry is to convey these experiences to others so they can share the clarity I feel. I'm not always successful in this challenge, but I like to think I get better each time I try.

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