Does the title of this article seem to have a rhythmical beat? So does life and the cosmos. Everything vibrates, from the beating of your heart to the humming of our planet (which vibrates at 7.83 Hz). Did you ever hear the universe sing? You can hear some of its songs (frequencies or vibratory patterns) by visiting this web site: http://www.mso.anu.edu.au/~pfrancis/Music/.
What better way to express life’s significance than by poetry? For like our heart, our planet, and our universe, it carries its message rhythmically. But our universe can not only be heard, it can be seen as well. In fact, the sight of it is far more spectacular than its songs. The same can be said for poetry. Its rhythm is merely the background accompanying imposing imagery painted by words.
This article is neither about poetry nor a call for poetry appreciation. Rather, it is a call for poetry creation. Yes, that’s right, if you’re not already doing so, I suggest you consider writing poetry. Let’s look at some of the reasons for doing so.
1. Although art, literature, and music may not be necessary for existence, they almost certainly are for life. For as French scientist and philosopher Gaston Bachelard (1884 ~ 1962) wrote, “To feel most beautifully alive means to be reading something beautiful, ready always to apprehend in the flow of language the sudden flash of poetry.” You see, not to experience poetry is, in a sense, not to feel and be aware of life.
2. Consider for a moment, the many levels there are in enjoying music. You can enjoy it at home. Yet, you will enjoy it more in the concert hall. And you would enjoy it even more if you were a member of the orchestra in the concert hall, still more if you were the conductor of the orchestra, and most of all if you were the composer conducting the orchestra. So it is with poetry. You enjoy it most when you are the composer or creator. So, poetry is worth writing for the sheer pleasure it will bring.
3. Poetry is magic, for it unveils and reveals the beauty in our surroundings and experiences. Here’s how Jean Cocteau (1889 ~ 1963) describes it: “Such is the role of poetry. It unveils, in the strict sense of the word. It lays bare, under a light which shakes off torpor, the surprising things which surround us and which our senses record mechanically.” Another magical aspect of poetry is it distills life, much as Haiku (Japanese poetry) distills the moment. So, as a poet, you will share insights, reveal hidden beauty, and illuminate others with your sparkling revelations. Poetry, then, is an opportunity for you to express the inexpressible.
4. As a poet, you will grow increasingly aware of your surroundings, relishing the moment. For you will “Take a commonplace, clean it and polish it, light it so that it produces the same effect of youth and freshness and originality and spontaneity as it did originally…” (Jean Cocteau) In a word, you will restore to life “what is lost in translation.” (Robert Frost, 1874 ~ 1963)
5. Poetry is a venue for you to express your emotions. Just as when the stings of the Stradivarius are stroked, they resonate and fill the room with music, your poetry will cause your soul to resonate, filling the hearts of your readers with the melody of life. Your poetry will allow you to share, contribute, move, and inspire. What’s more, you will learn that your poetry doesn’t belong to you, but to those who need it.
6. Another reason to write is for the challenge. Writing poetry is no easy task, for as Carl Sandburg (1878 ~ 1967) wrote, “Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the sky.”
7. Following the path of poetry leads to growing more attuned with your inner life. It allows you to discover your hidden resources and become your own best friend. Once your heart ignites with passion, you will be able to pass the torch to others. People need to hear your message, for as Dame Edith Sitwell (1887 ~ 1964) wrote, “The poet speaks to all men of that other life of theirs that they have smothered and forgotten.” Similarly, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 ~ 1832) said, “A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”
8. Is something disturbing you? Are you going through a painful experience? What better way to get it out of your system than by writing poetry? Poetry is cathartic. It allows you to transfer the pain from your mind to a sheet of paper. And as you focus on the rhyme, rhythm, and resonance of the poem you are creating, all thoughts of pain recede, much like the ebb tide. Pain has given birth to some of the finest works of art and is a perfect example of how we can extract something positive from even the most negative circumstance.
Does becoming a poet, such as the one I describe, appear to be beyond your reach? Well, the ability to write poetry is innate. That is, it is as natural as walking. True, those who spend time practicing can walk more gracefully, but most of us can walk with little or no effort. The same is true for poetry. We can write it if we try. However, a little guidance will make our efforts much more fruitful. Here are some books that can help:
1. The Art & Craft of Poetry by Michael J. Bugeja, Writer’s Digest Books, 1994.
2. How to Write Poetry by Nancy Bogen, 1998
3. Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Poetry by Nikki Moustaki, 2001
4. The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises From Poets Who Teach by Robin Behn, 1992
5. In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet’s Portable Workshop by Steve Kowit, 1995
And for more about Haiku, see: http://www.personal-development.com/chuck/how-to-write-haiku.htm
For software to store and help you create your poetry, see: IconPoet, http://www.iconpoet.com/ and MasterWriter, http://www.masterwriter.com. Also, look for poetry clubs you can join and courses you can take. And be sure to explore the vast poetry resources on the Internet.
As it is still early in the year, it is the perfect time to embark on a new adventure, so why not seriously consider writing poetry and sharing it with others this year. Today you a reader of this newsletter. Tomorrow someone may be a reader of your poetry in this newsletter! So, start today, and when you are ready, submit your poetry to our newsletter and share it with its many readers. Also, if you do a Google advanced search for POETRY SUBMISSION, you will find one million web pages. Many of them are waiting for your submission; don’t disappoint them!
Don’t mistakenly believe you have nothing to add to the world of poetry because everything has already been said. Has every wave struck the rocks? Of course not. You see, your poetry can be, as Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 ~ 1882) said, “…as new as foam and as old as the rock.” So, write it. Share it, and enjoy it.