Why I Write Poetry: Lisa L. Stead

In 2017, I started a “Why I Write Poetry” series of guest posts. I’ve already received so many, and I hope they keep coming in (details on how to contribute below). Now that we’ve made it through another April, let’s get back to them.

Today’s “Why I Write Poetry” post comes from Lisa L. Stead, who writes, “Poetry opens my eyes wide, my heart wider.”

Lisa L. Stead lives in the mountains of northern Vermont where the wildlife has decided her gardens are the place to be (and eat). She is an assistant librarian at a regional high school where she introduces as many students as she can to the joys of reading, writing, and traveling the world. Not yet a published writer (except for posting poems on Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides), her goal is to have a collection ready to send out into the world in the not too distant future.

You may contact her at stead.lisalupario@gmail.com.

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Why I Write Poetry: Lisa L. Stead

Lisa L. Stead

I did not always consider myself a poet, but lately I have been thinking that my heart has always known otherwise. All of my life I have been surrounded by books and music, and between all of those words either written or sung, I was destined to play with them myself in one manner or another.

My mother was an English major and taught piano lessons from our home until I left for college and my father, who taught philosophy at a local university, never tired of engaging me and my brothers in thoughtful debates about all sorts of matters. He had the most amazing music collection from Bach to ZZ Top and more books than our local library (over six thousand titles, no kidding).  Words, in all their glorious forms and variations, were woven into my DNA.

I have always kept a journal and over the years I dabbled at writing short stories. Ideas were always percolating but time to write was a rarity while holding a job and raising a family. It wasn’t until my children were nearly teenagers that my best friend persuaded me to join her in the national NaNoWriMo and finally act on my wish to write a novel.

We both successfully completed the challenge, but there was no way my draft was going to see the light of day before undergoing a major overhaul. A few more years went by with no significant progress. And then one April, everything changed. While searching for guidance on how to tackle the revision process on the Writer’s Digest site, I stumbled upon Robert Brewer’s blog and an amazing community of poets. Poetry found me, and I found my voice.

I love the immediacy of poetry, how it leads me to write to the heart. There’s something unwritten but still spoken in those line breaks, the pauses, the way the words play out on the page, the expectation of what comes next dashed by the thrill of the unexpected. Poetry lets me capture the essence of a moment–even if it’s just a feeling, an intangibly real insight that yearns to be expressed.

How quickly a picture is painted, how much depth is portrayed in just a few carefully chosen words. Words, in their sounds and rhythms, how what they signify for each person can be so individual and powerful, yet in their individuality, can still strike a sort of universal chord–an innate music within all of us. Poetry opens my eyes wide, my heart wider.

And that unfinished novel? It’s still tugging a piece of my heart. Maybe I will pull it out of that dark drawer, reconsider it with a poet’s eye and transform it into a novel in verse.

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If you’d like to share why you write poetry, please send an e-mail to robert.brewer@fwmedia.com with a 300-500 word personal essay that shares why you write poetry. It can be serious, happy, sad, silly–whatever poetry means for you. And be sure to include your preferred bio (50-100 words) and head shot. If I like what you send, I’ll include it as a future guest post on the blog.

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2 thoughts on “Why I Write Poetry: Lisa L. Stead

  1. lsteadly

    Thank you, Sasha, for your kind words and encouragement. That re-write is one of the projects I hope to tackle this year and some poetic energy may be just what it needs

  2. Sasha A. Palmer

    “Poetry found me, and I found my voice.” Your essay flows so well, and has all the traits of poetry you’ve mentioned: “How quickly a picture is painted, how much depth is portrayed in just a few carefully chosen words”, etc. Thank you for sharing, Lisa, and good luck with that novel in verse — I think it’s a great idea!

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