Why I Write Poetry: Robert Lee Brewer

Recently, I got to thinking about the types of answers I like to hear in poet interviews and one that I always love is along the lines of “Why I Write Poetry.” As a result, I thought it’d be cool to start up a guest post series on just that topic.

Sooo…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 (like the one below) 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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Why I Write Poetry: Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Okay, so I think I’ve shared several times on here over the years that I started writing poetry in my teens to impress a girl. She thought the one poem meant that I wrote other poems, so I started writing more, and long story short: That relationship ended, but the poetry has stayed with me ever since.

It would be easy to conclude then that I write poetry to woo potential girlfriends, right? Well, yeah. I have written more than a few poems to would-be-Juliets over the years.

But I write poetry for more than courtship. In many ways, poetry has served as a sort of self-therapy–helping me deal with emotions related to divorce, work anxiety, and childhood sexual abuse. In many ways (and on many occasions), poetry has helped me keep my sanity and learn more about myself and the people around me. You know, pretty deep stuff.

But not all deep, because I’ve used poetry to write silly poems about pencils, fortune cookies, and tomatoes. I’ve used poetry to document things my children say and do–acting as a sort of literary scrap book for my family unit.

And yes, I still write poems intended to woo my wife. Because at the end of the day, that’s where my heart is (and my pen apparently).

So I could say that I write poetry to communicate and, I suppose, to persuade–and that would be a true statement. But maybe the better, simpler reason is this: I write poetry, because it’s always done me more good than bad, and I can’t imagine my life without it.

Why do you write poetry?


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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4 thoughts on “Why I Write Poetry: Robert Lee Brewer

  1. Angie5804

    Like Robert, I began writing poetry in high school. Some sappy love poems, some nature oriented, some expressing my love to God. Years went by and I wrote on occasion. But, then I came to more serious dabbling in poetry when I became involved in the PAD challenge. I also taught poetry to 6th graders and saw many of them blossom into poets by the end of our time together.

    I find poetry fun and freeing; comforting and challenging. I enjoy word play, so rhyming and formulaic poetry serves a purpose for me there. I also find I need the outlet that poetry provides. I can express myself when no other way will do. Poetry also challenges me to find and arrange “the best words in the best order.”

  2. tripoet

    Robert, I appreciated your words, “I can’t imagine my life without it. ( poetry )”. I fell in love with poetry and writing late in life after a painful loss. Now I can’t imagine my Wednesdays without reading your poetry prompts and stopping my busy life for a moment and giving my best shot at creating a word response.

  3. Daniel Paicopulos

    Wonderful reasons all. Same here. It seems that I am always composing a poem in my mind, and if I did not write it down, my head would surely burst. When it comes to sharing the work, especially using the socials, it is an awesome way to get to know people, scattered about the world, revealing themselves intimately with their responses. Romantically, I wake up every day more in love than ever with my wife of nearly half a century, and the poems that I write to and about her are the best of me.


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