With April being National Poetry Month, I’ve decided this would be a good time to spread the word about poetry and its relevance in our everyday lives. Each of us, all walks of life, everywhere.
While writing, in general, is obviously vital in communicating with our everyday world, poetry is a different beast altogether. Poetry is a unique literary vehicle that has been around as long as we have been communicating with one another. Poetry allows the writer a freedom, that isn’t necessarily available in other writing arenas, to express emotion with a myriad of tools at their disposal. Poetry is a visceral experience. Sure fiction and even some non-fiction accounts of life can achieve a similar reaction in the reader, but poetry is a tool that many overlook or dismiss altogether.
Most can recall a childhood experience with poetry in some form. Probably the heavily schemed rhyming sort to begin, and possibly some other encounters along their educational paths with haiku, sonnets, or the iambic pentameter Shakespeare was quite fond of, but that’s not all there is to poetry. Not even close. Poetry is everywhere. In everything. Small and large, living and dying, the expression, the vision, the creation, the process is the art itself.
Carl Sandburg wrote, “The fog comes/on little cat feet.” With only seven words, Sandburg achieves description that is concise and breathes life. He captures a moment many have witnessed in everyday life and gives movement to it on paper. There is an entire scene unfolding as your mind processes his carefully chosen words, plain words, in fact. “Little cat feet,” and our minds automatically think of the creatures and how agile and intentional they can be when on the prowl. This is how the fog comes, an intentional, methodical movement until the seen is unseen. And then it simply moves on again.
BY CARL SANDBURG
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
Poetry has many benefits. It helps teach reading, writing, and language in a different way. Short poems are more easily digestible and dissectible to help aid in the education of grammar usage and literary devices that all good writers employ. It makes textual analysis more manageable. And, after all, don’t all writers want just one thing? To share a story?
As a writer myself, I’m always trying to better my craft and convey a story in such a way to emote a lasting feeling in my readers. I want to write something that reaches into my reader’s soul and stirs things up a bit, so that when they walk away from what I’ve shared they think: “Yeah, that!”
I am quite passionate about poetry and I’m still learning. I learn new things every day. Almost six months ago, I had an idea to create an online challenge combining a few of my favorite things. I started Three Line Thursday to bring artists and writers together in an online venue to encourage and promote creativity and inspiration. I work with many talented artists and photographers of varying levels and encourage writers, poets, and dabblers of ink of all levels to participate each week.
The idea behind TLT is brevity. Say more with less. I give you 3 lines with a max word count of 10 words per line. This is a tool that can help writers of any level hone their craft. Or lovers of poetry to have a place to dabble. Learn to use language in a different way. Play with words until they feel good. Make it weighty without the excess. Use strong verbs and descriptive nouns. Convey something that lingers and stays with people. Reach into your soul and share your emotive verse.
I would like to stress that while TLT was born from my love of poetry, it isn’t strictly a “poetry” challenge. I have many different types of writers that enter the challenge weekly. Many flash-fiction writers dabble at TLT each week as well and have won the weekly challenge. Think of it as a 30-word short story. After all, that is what poetry is—a story.
I welcome you all to pop by Three Line Thursday and check it out and follow us on Twitter too. TLT prompts go live every Wednesday at midnight (EDT) and closes Thursday at Midnight (EDT) you have 24 hours to share your 3 lines in the comment section for the particular prompt week. Results post on Saturdays.
I challenge each of you during the month of April to read a poem you haven’t ever read, write a poem if you’ve never tried your hand at one, or write one in a style you’ve never tried. Poetry is good for the soul. Happy writing!
Love and Ink,
Grace Black is just another writer wearing down lead and running out of ink, one line at a time. Coffee refuels her when sleep has not been kind. You can find more of her words and the chaos she pens on her website. She can also be found on Twitter.