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
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.
If you’d like to share why you write poetry, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org 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.