This week: Expanding My HorizonsEdited by: Elle
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As a perpetual poetry pupil, I am always looking to learn new ways to improve my poetry. Sometimes the answer is to stop writing for a moment and read or listen instead...
In my last poetry newsletter, I wrote about being a perpetual poetry pupil. Well, my learning has taken an interesting turn.
Most authors, and those associated with the profession of writing, agree that you can't write what you don't read. If you want to write great horror novels, you have to read horror novels. If you want to write great romance novels, you have to read romance novels. And so on, and so forth. So you'd think it would go without saying that in order to write great poems, you have to read poems. Well, somehow I missed that step.
I had very few poetical influences growing up. My mother wrote little ditties inside birthday cards and that was about it. I remember being made to write poems in English class at high school, but I honestly don't remember studying and/or reading poetry to any extent. Certainly none of it stayed with me. Despite this, I wrote poetry all through my teenage years. Was it great? Of course not!
I have learned a lot about poetry since I came to Writing.com, and it's true that the more poems I read, the better my own poetry gets. But there was one step I hadn't yet taken. No, wait, make that two steps that I hadn't yet taken.
I didn't read poetry outside of Writing.com. And I didn't read poems aloud nor listen to others read them aloud.
After some consultation with Cinn, who is my resident expert on all things poetry, we both went away and tried to come up with fun ways to bridge these gaps in my knowledge. It amuses me that we both came up with completely different activities designed to cover completely different aspects of my poetry education.
"Poetry Readings" is an activity where you can record yourself reading your own poems aloud, and share them with the other members of Writing.com. What's more, you can listen to other WDC poets reading their poetry aloud. It is proving to be quite fascinating, and very insightful. I had some trouble imagining how Cinn's free verse poems, particularly the ones with creative use of line breaks and spaces, would sound, but now I know. Now I have a better understanding of how her poems will sound when I read a new one. And she was surprised by some of the Maori words I used in my poetry, which sounded nothing like she had imagined. There are multiple poets already participating. Do come along and listen to the recordings, and feel free to add your own. There are merit badges to be earned too.
"Pursue the Horizon" is about sharing the poetical works of non-WDC poets. Professional, published poets. Each day (or as often or little as each member chooses), we are sharing a poem by a non-WDC poet and explaining why we chose that poem, what we like about it and any other information pertinent to it. The first day (March 1) saw a wide range of poems, from those written from the perspective of soldiers and prisoners, to children's poetry, to love poems and more. And that was just day one! The activity is open for anyone to join at any time. Check out the guidelines, and join in. Or if not, at least take the time to read some of the works that are being shared. I, for one, am finding it fascinating as well as educational.
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What exposure have you had to professional, published poets? Were there books of poetry in the house when you were growing up? Tell me about your experiences.
I received these comments for my last newsletter "Poetry Newsletter (November 18, 2015)" :
'Thank you for your lovely newsletter. Didn't know they have lessons on poetry on WDC and I suck in poetry. ' ~ Happy Chinese New Year ☮
'Writing poetry is certainly putting yourself on a lifelong learning curve. the more you learn, the more your\ find there is to learn. Whatever you do, enjoy your writing.' ~ Bob retired
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