National Poetry Month and
Our Poetry Contest Continues
If you’ve ever sat to color with your siblings or your own children, you’ll notice that they usually grasp the brightest color on the table. They start with youthful enthusiasm.
Then, depending on their age, they pull back on the light glowing in their eyes and they
Does Your Poetry Feel Like Pudgy Fingers Holding a Stubby Crayon?
become more thoughtful, more aware of their choice of color and where they use it. They also become more self-conscious of what they are doing in front of you.
Do they ask what color to use? Do they sort through them to find a better one? Do they find the challenge of getting the crayon to stay inside the lines? Do they give up because it’s too hard?
These decisions are mostly made by the environmental influences of how others are perceiving them. Freedom of creativity is only free in your mind. We have too many other influences that can redirect us from our poetry goals. Choose your colors wisely and determine what message you are trying to convey. Stay focused and choose the form that works for you. Stay inside the lines but don’t be afraid to experiment, too.
Do you feel awkward and clumsy when trying to write a poem? Maybe it’s because you haven’t felt you could create something worthy of calling it a poem. Poems come in all shapes and purposes. We place meaningful restrictions on ourselves — for no apparent reason. We demand better of ourselves, even when we don’t know why. It’s no surprise that so many writers don’t become poets. Crafting a poem is different than writing a story — even though they seem so similar.
This reminds me of my favorite Haiku poem in grade school. First, let me explain that Wayne (not his name) was a clown in class and always tried to get everyone to laugh out loud so they would get in trouble — not him. But when it came to the new stuff like Haiku and poetry in general, most boys whined but Wayne hunted for his best victim to taunt into laughter. Wayne was a brat.
Haiku, as an easy Oriental poem structure, has a simple form of three lines with five syllables in the first and third lines, and seven in the middle. It forces young minds to see a form and it offers shortness to adhere to their creativeness without beleaguering it.
Easy and Fast
So with our assignment in hand, we were told to come back the next day with a Haiku poem and the best five would be read in front of the class. Wayne sulked in the back of the room. He didn’t like the assignment or how the students were showing so much interest in a stupid poem. He couldn’t bait anyone to start giggling.
The next day our teacher announced that she had never seen such wonderful Haiku poems in all the classes she ever taught. She told us how much she enjoyed reading them and specifically she wanted to share her favorite right away.
This is a Haiku from Wayne:
Dum De Dum De Dum
I’m not the creative type.
Dum De Dum De Dum
Even though he thought he was being clever and silly, he accomplished what all of us wish to do — become memorable 50 years later. He fulfilled his assignment, and I love him for that, wherever he is.
Please consider entering our annual poetry contest, (Go to Contest Page above) whether you are a pro at contests, or if this is your first time, half the fun is sharing what you’ve created from within yourself.
And maybe you’ll be memorable 50 years from now.