Why I Write Poetry: Jacqueline Hallenbeck

Publish date:

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). Today’s “Why I Write Poetry” post comes from Jacqueline Hallenbeck who writes, “I must admit... I use poetry as a weapon.”

Jacqueline Hallenbeck is a Medical Transcriber and a Poet-in-Transit. She has been published in Current, The Hudson Reporter, SpeedPoets, The Hudson Independent and Ecuatoriano, among others. She has featured at Art House Productions and has placed in the Top Ten in several Writer's Digest Poetic Asides Challenges. She lives in New Jersey with her husband John.


Master Poetic Forms!

Image placeholder title

Learn how to write sestina, shadorma, haiku, monotetra, golden shovel, and more with The Writer’s Digest Guide to Poetic Forms, by Robert Lee Brewer.

This e-book covers more than 40 poetic forms and shares examples to illustrate how each form works. Discover a new universe of poetic possibilities and apply it to your poetry today!

Click to continue.


Why I Write Poetry: Jacqueline Hallenbeck

Because I've done nothing else. There are no degrees on my walls and I can't make people. Poetry is my one achievement.

 Jacqueline Hallenbeck

Jacqueline Hallenbeck

Some of my poems make me proud. Others crack me up. And then there are the WhatWasIThinking? poems that oftentimes escape me. When I write them, I am convinced they are good. Come back to them a day later and I am mortified and beyond embarrassed at having released them into cyberspace.

I write poems in the shower, in my car on my way to work, before I go to sleep. I am a rhymer who loves feedback, and when it comes to poetry, the sound of crickets is the one sound you don't want to hear.

I have MASSIVE stage fright and have killed it (not) at open mics. My best and most flawless performances have been in my living room, my kitchen, my car and in front of my bathroom mirror.

My poetry is... for sharing. When April (Poetry Month) and Halloween come around, I spend all my time making and giving out poetreats. My Christmas letters are filled with poems. With my gumball machine, I sell poems for 25 cents at various poetry events. PoeTweets are next on my list.

Poetry is... my life and it is all around me. I play the Poetry Game with my nieces and nephew, where each player says a random word and prompts the next player to make up a poem with it. I live in The Heights, where the streets are lined with Poetrees.

I must admit... I use poetry as a weapon. When my husband misbehaves, I read him a poem.

Do I want to be discovered? Hell, yeah! But that's the lazy poet in me talking.

Poetry makes me happy. It makes me smile. I love reading it. I love writing it. If one of my poems makes you laugh, my work here is done.


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.


Find more poetic posts here:


The “Secret Sauce” Necessary to Succeed at a 30-Day Writing Challenge

In this article, author and writing coach Nina Amir lays out her top tips to master your mindset and complete a 30-day writing challenge.


Crashing Into New Worlds: Writing About the Unfamiliar

Award-winning crime author Stephanie Kane explains how she builds characters unlike herself and navigates their worlds to create vivid and realistic stories.


Plot Twist Story Prompts: Without a Trace

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character leave without a trace.


Vintage WD: The Truth about True Crime

In this article from July 2000, true crime novelist and former New York Times correspondent Lisa Beth Pulitzer shares with us some key insights for breaking into the true crime genre.


New Agent Alert: Barb Roose of Books & Such Literary Management

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Barb Roose of Books & Such Literary Management) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.


Evoking Emotion in Fiction: Seven Pragmatic Ways to Make Readers Give a Damn

Evoking emotion on the page begins with the man or woman at the keyboard. Dustin Grinnell serves up seven straightforward tactics for writing tear-jerking stories that make your readers empathize with your characters.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 546

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a spooky poem.


Learn Better World-Building Strategies Through World of Warcraft and the New Shadowlands Expansion

WD editor and fantasy writer Moriah Richard shares five unique ways in which writers can use World of Warcraft to better build their worlds—without playing the game.