I know that poetry seems inaccessible to many people, and I think that’s partially why National Poetry Month was created. Poetry is one of my favorite types of writing because it is so easy and yet at the same time so difficult. It takes up so little space on the page, relative to it’s cousin prose, and yet demands the reader’s full attention. And it’s not serious business all the time—Dr. Seuss wrote poetry for kids! My favorite poem of all time is also a classic. (Click the image to visit the page for further information.)
Short, sweet, and to the point, and yet it says so much. If you have trouble reading poetry, you’re not alone. Try “How to Read a Poem” at poets.org or “How to Read a Poem Out Loud” at Poetry 180. (If you like what you see at those links, consider picking up a copy of How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch; you won’t regret it.) Don’t worry if you get conflicting advice—how to read it, whether or not a certain poem is accessible (or accessible enough), whether or not poetry is only “real” if it rhymes, and so on. Learning to read and understand it is kind of like learning another language in that it opens up so much more once you’ve finally got it down. This written form is what you put into it.
If you want to try your hand at writing a poem or two, this is the perfect month for it! What’s the worst case scenario? You’ll write a bad poem. Trust me: every poet who’s ever been famous has written bad poetry, so don’t let that stop you. Whether you want to write a haiku or an epic, there are a few things you’ll definitely need before you begin. You could write on your computer, but I always recommend writing at least the first draft longhand (that is, write it using good old pen and paper first).
So! A notebook and pencil will go a long way. This two-in-one comes in two sizes: large (5.3″x7.5″x0.4″) and mini (about 3.5″x4.9″x0.4″). When you run out of pencil, you can replace it with any regular sized ballpoint pen (or another pencil, if you prefer).
Now, once you’ve written your heart out (not literally, I hope, but figuratively), you’re going to need a pen for marking up your poem and making it even better! (There is virtually no person who has ever lived who can write anything perfectly the first time.) The 360 Degree Pen has red ink to match its red top, which is designed especially for those people who are pen-twirling challenged. While pen-twirling doesn’t exactly promote writing, red pens are usually used for correction anyway, so you can twirl away while you’re re-reading.
Okay, so let’s say you’re a little more non-traditional… pen and paper aren’t your thing, and computers are too complicated. Work out the poetry in your head on the wall with these Chalkboard Squares. These come in self-adhesive sets of four with each square being roughly 12″x12″.
If you’re having trouble in the actual writing of your poem(s), check out Poetry4Kids’ writing lessons. I know they’re “for kids” but really, that just means the directions are simple enough to understand! If you want more “adult” lessons, you can always see what Oprah has to say about it. I’m a poet by trade (which is why I get so excited about poetry, words, and writing, as you can imagine!), so if you need some inspiration, have a look at the prompts I’m using to write a poem every single day this month—and the links to my results. In the meantime, what are your favorite poems and/or poets? Write a poem sometime this month and leave it the comments for me to read! I love poetry, and I want to share it with everyone. 🙂