Should You Write Poetry?
Behind The Scenes of Poetry Writing
Poetry writing is something you might be a little suspicious about. As a writer, you might have dabbled in short stories and novel writing, and have always considered poetry another realm that you didn’t really have any interest in exploring.
That’s what I thought, too.
Poetry is similar to prose in a lot of ways. But it’s also different in a lot of ways. Short stories and novels have structure, they have a way to do things. Poetry can seem all over the place, like viewing the world through a kaleidoscope — everything is so different, every opinion and voice so contrasting.
However, my negative view on writing poetry changed when I joined a weekly writing class. I took it, and for the first half, we focused on writing stories, which I was comfortable with. But for the second half, we wrote poetry.
This situation pushed me to explore poetry, to see if I could write this new, peculiar form of writing. And I could. I did. And I enjoyed it.
I found out that writing poetry was actually pretty fun. It was more fluid, more open, more freeing, than writing prose. I discovered that what I actually disliked about poetry — the all over the place, lack of rules and boundaries — was what I enjoyed most about it.
You could do whatever you wanted.
In this article, I will list, describe, and explain the benefits of writing poetry, and why you should try it out for yourself.
While extremely short stories do exist, the common guideline is over half a thousand words, and that’s not even considering books and novels, which can be hundreds of thousands of words in length. However, poetry isn’t socially expected to be that long. Some of the most famous poem’s are only a few dozen words.
If you are looking for a quicker, less involved form of writing, you might want to try out poetry. Due to the shorter words expected, you can easily spend just a few minutes creating poetry, instead of spending the potential hours on a longer work.
This doesn’t mean that poetry is quick and easy, without any work at all, but you can write a good poem in far less time than a good short story.
More Choices For Topics
Imagine a short story about a mug. That’s all it is. Just a mug. It’s weird. It’s awkward. It’s sorta boring.
There are thousands of stories just waiting to be told, but there’s a whole lot of topics that also aren’t really told through ‘stories’, like…a mug. So, if you wanted to write something about, say, your favorite pencil, you probably won’t end up writing a novel about it.
However, you can write poetry about it. Poetry doesn’t just have to be telling a story, it can be used to describe an object or person. Now, you have a lot more topics and subjects you can choose to write about, instead of just being constricted to an interesting story.
Poetry doesn’t need plot, it doesn’t need characters, it doesn’t need any of the elements you might consider ‘necessary’ in a short story(Many poems do have these things, but not all of them). As long as you have something, whether it be a picture of a certain-shaped cloud or an eraser in your old pencil box, and you have something to say about it, you can turn it into a poem.
Make It Rhyme And Sound Like Music
While short stories do have a flow to them, a certain weight and lightness to each word, how the sentences sound don’t matter as much as what they mean.
Not so much in poetry.
Poetry is about creating a world of sounds and words, rhythm and music and story, letters and syllables, vowels and consonants. It bring another dimension and layer to writing, another way to express yourself and your feelings.
For example, ‘The wind was strong’ doesn’t have the same flow as ‘A harsh wind blew at my face’. When writing poetry, the ability to make your poem sound like music to your listeners and readers is something that is difficult to achieve, but rewarding and worthwhile once you’ve done it.
Less Rigid Form
Just write. Don’t hold back panicking about proper sentence format or dialogue punctuation. Just write.
With poetry, there’s more flow and lightness to it all, instead of the rules and rigid form of short stories. A simple poem, just a few lines, maybe with bad spelling and messy handwriting, can be enough to help express yourself, to take your bottled feelings and let it out.
You can write a short poem by just describing how you feel. Personifying your anger as ‘Wind, lashing against my face like whips, stinging and clawing, digging into my skin, hot and burning’ or giving your joy weight with ‘Beams of sunlight peeking through the gray, murky clouds, melting away into smoky wisps of nothingness’, can help you see and understand yourself better.
Poetry is a way to let out a stream of consciousness with just enough structure to make it a little more credible than a rant, and might just be the thing to turn your writing into something that helps you express your feelings and emotions.
Improve Your Descriptive Writing
While poetry by itself is a fun and engaging craft, it can also be a tool to further improve your prose. Poetry centers around painting a picture in your readers mind, whether it be a feeling, object, or story.
When writing poetry, all your fancy plot and characters are stripped away, instead forcing you to focus on your every word, giving you a chance to practice your descriptive writing.
Your in-the-moment writing is laid bare for you to write, edit, and rewrite, so you can see how your descriptive writing helps and hinders your writing, and allow you a better view so you can take it to the next level.
Poetry isn’t easy. It’s not an ‘easy’ alternative to writing stories. However, there are many, many other benefits to writing poems, from mental therapy to improving your sensory language.
If you want to start dipping your feet into this wonderful ocean of poems, just try it out. Take a feeling or an event in your life, something that you want to talk about, and write about it — not in the form of a story, but of a poem.
Reading poetry is also a great way to improve your poems, and many great poets and their works are available with just a few google searches.
So go ahead. Try something new, something different, and you might find that it’s your new favorite way to write.