Why I Write Poetry: Marie Elena Good

A few months ago, I posted about “Why I Write Poetry” and encouraged others to share their thoughts, stories, and experiences for future guest posts. I’ve already received so many, and I hope they keep coming in (details on how to contribute below). Thank you!

Today’s “Why I Write Poetry” post comes from Marie Elena Good, who writes, “I just enjoy it.”

Marie Elena Good daily watched her poems accrue, while posting and hosting a blog (or two). But life called, her muse stalled; regretfully she bid adieu. With publications next to nil (and dithering on kid lit, still), her market research does her in – she hardly knows where to begin. Her bio crashed, but still she’s blessed – she gets to poem with poeming’s best!

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Why I Write Poetry: Marie Elena Good

Marie Elena Good

The first poem I wrote was for a second-grade homework assignment. Funny how someone who has a difficult time with memorization can effortlessly recall the final couplet of her first poem, half-a-century after composing it.

“Beauty is a stallion, running free and wild.
Beauty is the crying of a newly born child.”

I spent much of that day mulling ideas in my head, unhappy with every phrase I painstakingly forced on to the paper. I remember believing I would have to take a “zero” for this assignment. I went to bed that night feeling defeated. How would I explain to Sister Josephine that I had tried my best, but had nothing to show for it. I couldn’t sleep. Then I remember the above couplet slipping effortlessly into my restless mind. I knew this was the end of my poem, and that my task was to work in reverse to find the beginning. And so my very first poem was birthed backward, and long after I should have been asleep. (Huh. Self-prophesy, this.)

Though my personality leans self-critical, I was pleased with my poem. I took great pleasure in the marriage of rhythm and rhyme, imagery and emotion. I look back now and see it as a seed poem that remained dormant far too long. It would be nearly four decades before I would write my second, which was in response to a poetry prompt on April 1, 2009 (wink wink). Much to my surprise, I wrote and publicly shared a minimum of one poem every day that month. I continued writing daily for years, thanks to Robert and others willing to artistically splay their hearts.

Still, contemplating why I write gave me pause. Some express a need to write that nearly rivals their need to breathe. Perhaps if this described me, I’d be a better poet. Honestly though, I just enjoy it. I especially relish the short forms, as I delight in expressing much in few words.

In the interest of transparency, I have a confession: Though I enjoy writing, my joy is made complete when a poet, in whose words I find worth, finds worth in mine. (Which is just a nicer way of admitting I am an online, instant-gratification poem junkie.)

Finally, writing poetry led me to discover a deeply rooted feeling:

I may write a truth,
but it isn’t truly mine
until I poem it.

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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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27 thoughts on “Why I Write Poetry: Marie Elena Good

  1. PressOn

    Thanks for this, Marie. Much grace flows from this piece, and it reminds me of something I wrote 25 years ago:

    SOMETHING GOOD

    Goodness is growing;
    growing is good.
    Your goodness is flowing
    as goodnesses should.

    Your graces are showing
    wherever you’ve stood
    and your greatness is growing.
    My goodness, you’re good!

    1. Marie Elena

      William! So good to see you! I had asked where you were for last week’s prompt. I finally had time to read and write, and your voice was noticeably absent. Thank you for your kind words. Your poem makes me smile. 25 years ago, eh? You’ve been poeming a long time! Warm smiles to you, friend.

  2. James Von Hendy

    Loved your story, Marie! It reminded me of the first poem I remember writing, also as a school assignment, mine in 5th grade, a haiku, complete with illustration, about a snapping turtle. I remember even less of my poem than you of yours, except that it ended “forgive me.”

    Anyhow, I love to see your work, and I’m glad you’ve kept on poeming. Love the idea of working backwards, too, something I often try when working on forms that have lots of repetition.

    1. Marie Elena

      Patricia!! Thank you for checking out my little essay, and for your feedback. Yes, I do think 2009 was a stellar year for poets meeting, my neighbor! It is amuses me that so many of us have rubbed noses poetically and socially for so many years, but few of us have met in person. We need to remedy that. I’m glad we crossed paths too. Big time. 🙂

  3. Sasha A. Palmer

    I’d love to read the whole “Beauty” poem — any chance you post it, Marie? I’ve been rereading the two lines that “wrote themselves.” I suspect you were one of those kids who delight and/or scare their teachers — so much wisdom, and such eloquence in the words of a young child.
    Thank you for your poetry, your smile, your GOODness that shines through everything you say and do.

    1. Marie Elena

      I really don’t remember the entire poem anymore, but I do remember the first couplet had something to do with a mountain, and splashing in a fountain. I was obviously drawn to rhyme way back then! 😀 Thank you for your very kind and generous words, Sasha. Warm smiles …

  4. Walter J Wojtanik

    I knew there was a reason you wrote! And I’m glad you did, because I’d have a rusted file cabinet full of drivel and never let it see the light of day. It was important to me that you were brought into my sphere of influence and had become a critic, a poetic partner, dear friend and in a sense “family”. But from the very first day I read your words (on that April 1, 2009 – wink, wink) I knew we would reflect each other’s brilliance for years. You are and remain my favorite poet hands down. And you made me the poet I am, I have no doubt. I celebrate you and your poetic heart!

    1. Marie Elena

      We drifted a bit, you and I, but man-oh-man we have remained “best friends who have never met” for 8 years now! Unreal. Walt, you know I’ve always admired your work immensely … from day 1. Nobody (NOBODY) does romance better than you, and you are always willing to splay your heart in ways I can’t seem to muster. Poor Keith. He gets wordless lipstick hearts on the bathroom mirror, and texted hearts and kisses. I’m not able to express romantic love in words, even though I feel it deeply. I thought maybe the best of the best (ahem) might rub off on me eventually, but after 8 years of reading and studying your words? Well, I still got nuthin but luvie drivel. 😉 Thanks anyway, Pard. And thanks also for never giving up on me. Cyber hugs …

  5. Jane Shlensky

    Marie, you have the head and heart of a poet which makes your words both thoroughly sane and often moving. I look forward to seeing your contributions to prompts. Thanks for this essay.

  6. lsteadly

    So lovely, your words, your heart. Your poetry encompasses such wisdom of the soul, I would have thought you have been writing poems all through your life. To find this wasn’t the case encourages me to believe in myself, even if my inner editor is an extremely pesky critic. I also can’t thank you enough for all of the kind comments you have offered me for the work I have posted on “the Street”. Such an honor from a person whose work I have admired for a few years now since discovering said street. Thank you for shedding more light on what moves you. -Lisa

    1. Marie Elena

      Goodness, Lisa. I hardly know how to respond. Just thank you so very much for your kind words, and right back at ya. You are one of the poets I seek out when I have little reading time. So glad to have met you here.

  7. PKP

    Dear Marie – I do believe that your post called to me today. This morning, quite out of nowhere, I thought of Wednesdays and the joy I took for so many years on “The Street” and poeming to regular prompts and all that followed from those writings. I thought of the few essays I had seen recently on why folks poem and thought that that endeavor was probably over and as my thoughts turned to The Street the inevitably touched on you – for you were the very first online person who ever commented on a poem of mine – (before I even knew that comments were to become a regular form of interaction). Your first poem is truly the work of a gifted child, the poetry that I know from you and the sensibility that you bring to the page and to your commentary on the world is the work of a compassionate, kind, and gifted woman. You have always been and are a poet in all that you write and in how you view this spinning blue marble of ours. A lovely essay from a lovely, talented poet. Thank you for a great read.

    1. Marie Elena

      Thank you again, Pearl. As I replied on FB, I’m overwhelmed by the feedback I’ve received here. This poetic community never ceases to amaze me. Thank you. Your generous comments mean a great deal to me. Warm smiles to you, Pearl.

  8. Marie Elena

    Oh my. Your words, all of them, mean so much to me. You are so generous and kind, and it’s hard for me to wrap my head around such generosity. So please just know that my “thank you” comes from deep within, and that I admire all of you a great deal.

  9. De Jackson

    I.LOVE.this.woman. This poet. This incredible human being, who woos us with her words, and her beautiful soul. Marie, you were one of my first – and always my best- encouragers. And your words always, always WOW me. The world needs more bright be-YOU-tiful sunshine souls in it. I’m thankful I know one of the best.

    PS: I LOVE your silly side. You make me smile, and there’s just nothing better than that.

    1. Marie Elena

      And as always, your generous sweet poetic heart wows ME! You know how I feel about your poetry. I wish I had your natural ability to be so very POETIC in your work. But I sure hope you know how I feel about YOU. You are another on my bucket list, lady. I have a strong feeling we will click immediately and talk for hours, and when it is time to say goodbye, well, we’ll take heart in knowing there’s an eternity on the other side. Love you, friend.

  10. Nurit Israeli

    I always look forward to reading what you write, dear Marie. For me, what makes your poetry extra special is the way it mirrors your soul – the sensitive, gentle, kind, insightful, empathic, and compassionate lenses through which you view the world. Your way of defining as abstract a concept as beauty in second grade is astonishing, and the ways you continue to look for, identify, reflect on, and support manifestations of beauty is a blessing to us – beneficiaries of your goodness.

    1. Marie Elena

      I sit here and shake my head in awe as YOUR sensitive, gentle, kind, insightful, empathic, and compassionate soul shines brightly in every interaction we have. Nurit, all I can say is that it is a pleasure and an honor to know and interact with one as noble as you. Thank you so much for all your kind and generous sentiments. It mean so much to me. Hugs across cyberspace to you.

  11. tripoet

    Your poems trigger an expectation of delight because I have come to expect something wonderful will be posted under your name. Also, I notice the kind remarks you leave for others under their names.

    This was a very nice sharing on how you came to write as an adult and I enjoyed reading it very much.
    Sister Josephine would be proud.

    1. Marie Elena

      “Your poems trigger an expectation of delight because I have come to expect something wonderful will be posted under your name.” WOW. I’m completely blown away by this. Honestly, I can’t think of anything a fellow poet could express that would mean more than this. Thank you so, so much! Just, WOW! And thank you also for being a part of this poetic community. It wouldn’t be the same here without you.

  12. Bruce Niedt

    Thank you for this heartfelt glimpse into what makes you tick. I didn’t know that you’ve only been writing regularly since you met the PAD challenge. Kudos to Robert for bringing a “new” poetic talent into the world. I haven’t commented before on this, but I’ve been enjoying your daily haiku.

    1. Marie Elena

      Thank you, Bruce! Your comments mean a great deal to me, coming from you. That’s part of what I love about this place. I wasn’t kidding in my goofy bio when I said I get to poem with poeming’s best. What an honor to post alongside someone like you. The whole thing just leaves me shaking my head. Thank you again, and please feel free to join in on the daily 17 whenever the mood strikes! 🙂

    1. Marie Elena

      Thank you soooooo much, Anthony! You are so kind, and I’m thankful to be out here poeming with you. I’m looking forward to November and, of course, April. Makes me smile just thinking about it. Take care, and thank you again for your kind and generous feedback. Wow …

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