Skip to main content
Publish date:

Why I Write Poetry: Sari Grandstaff

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 Sari Grandstaff, who writes, “There is no rehab program or 12-step support group that could convince me to stop.”

Sari Grandstaff is a high school librarian. Her haiku and poetry have been published in many print and online venues. She is a member of the Haiku Society of America and Hudson Valley Haiku-Kai. Sari also is the founder of National Haiku Poetry Day which is now under the auspices of The Haiku Foundation. She is the proud mother of three children and she lives with her husband in the Catskill Mountains/Mid-Hudson Valley of New York State.

*****

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: Sari Grandstaff

Writing poetry has been my creative outlet since childhood. I was captivated by my copy of Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses and later by learning about haiku in school.

 Sari Grandstaff

Sari Grandstaff

At my elementary school graduation ceremony I stood alone on the stage and read my original poetry, including these two poems:

I Am I

If you don’t deny/That I am I/Then I’ll think too/That you are you./And if we believe/He has a right to be he/Then we should also believe/She has a right to be she/So then you are you/He is he/She is she/And I don’t deny/That I am I.

The Turntable of Life

You go around and around/On the turntable of life/You go around and you’re a teenager/You go around and you’re a wife/You go around and you have gray hair/That you didn’t have before/You go around and you fall off/And you don’t go around no more.

Quite a departure from the preceding performance by a fellow classmate singing “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.” My mother recollects how after my reading in the packed suburban school cafetorium there was stunned silence. The parents and grandparents, gripping their flowers and balloons, didn’t how to react to this unexpected gravitas from a shrimpy 11-year-old girl. Until my mom started loudly and proudly clapping which everyone then joined in, giving me a thunderous applause and standing ovation.

I persevered with my poetry in junior high school. For a seventh grade English project, I made a book rewriting all the nursery rhymes to make them more feminist. I liberated Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater’s wife, The Old Woman Who Lived in the Shoe and others enslaved by the misnamed patriarchy of Mother Goose. Poetry was liberating, it was freeing!

I took workshops at the public library and local arts center to hone my craft. The daughter of a locally known poet was in one of my workshops with me. I was able to recall that memory many years later when I was applying to that poet to see if he would accept me in an online mentorship. In high school I bought blank journals filling them with my poems of adolescent angst. Poetry was a vessel that could contain my multitudes!

So why do I write poetry? Why do I persist even now into middle age? I write poetry because I can’t not write it. Poetry-writing withdrawal sounds unimaginably painful. There is no rehab program or 12-step support group that could convince me to stop. If writing poetry is wrong, then I don’t wanna be right. I’d rather write.

*****

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:

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: 4 WDU Courses, an Upcoming Webinar, Submission Deadline for Your Favorite Writing Websites, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce 4 WDU courses, an upcoming webinar on creating an author website, and more!

How To Find the Right Professional Editor for Your Writing

How To Find the Right Professional Editor for Your Writing

It's not enough to know when your manuscript is ready for a professional edit—it's knowing who is the right fit to do the editing. Here, Tiffany Yates Martin discusses how to find the right professional editor for your writing.

From Script

Understanding the Writer and Agent Relationship (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, read an intimate interview with Verve Literary Agent and Partner David Boxerbaum about the state of the spec market, the relationship between a writer and agent, and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Ending Your Story Too Soon

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Ending Your Story Too Soon

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is ending your story too soon.

FightWrite™: Fight Scenes with Magic

FightWrite™: Fight Scenes With Magic

In this post, trained fighter and author Carla Hoch explores the process of writing fight scenes with magic—how to make the unbelievable believable, how limitations bring us closer to our characters, and more.

Invoice Template for Freelance Writers

Invoice Template for Freelance Writers

If you're a freelance writer who is able to secure assignments, an essential tool you'll need is an invoice. In this post, Writer's Digest Senior Editor Robert Lee Brewer shares a very basic and easy invoice template for freelance writers to get the job done (and get paid).

3 Things Being a Broadway Wig Master Taught Me About Storytelling

3 Things Being a Broadway Wig Master Taught Me About Storytelling

A career behind the curtain helped Amy Neswald in creating her own stories. Here, the author shares 3 things being a broadway wig master taught her about storytelling.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Out of Control

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Out of Control

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let things get a little out of control.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Next Steps

Here are the final steps for the 14th annual November PAD Chapbook Challenge! Use December and the beginning of January to revise and collect your poems into a chapbook manuscript. Here are some tips and guidelines.