Several weeks 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 Sharon Louise Howard, who writes, "I write poetry to express the inexpressible."
Sharon Louise Howard holds BA and MA degrees from the University of Central Florida. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in Cricket, The Formalist, Stonecutters, Revelry, Branches, Pinesong, Streetlight Magazine, and Florida English Journal. She is retired and currently living in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina.
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Why I Write Poetry: Sharon Louise Howard
It started as a way to help me keep my sanity during a solitary time. I was 29, on the cusp of 30 and wondering what I had to show for it. Poetry matched my attention span, or so it seemed then. It became my private means of expressing myself when all other avenues seemed blocked.
I've always been an avid reader. I was that girl who went to the library every two weeks, bringing home as many books as my skinny arms could carry. It wasn't much of a leap from that to wanting to write.
Studying on my own, I learned about the various aspects of poetry—line structure, rhythm, imagery, form, etc. It was fun and challenging, and gave purpose to my days. Everyone needs a creative outlet and I had finally found mine.
In time, I entered a few minor poetry contests. I found inspiration in the various category requirements of form and/or subject matter. I even won some awards. One of these poems was subsequently published in The Formalist. I also sold a couple of children’s poems.
My creative outlet was no longer only about passing the time. I'd fallen in live with the process of creating with words. Writing poetry feeds my endless fascination with all the ways words can come together to express even the tragic in beautiful ways.
Over the years I began to write short fiction as well. One of my favorite comments concerning my prose writing is when someone says, "When I read your stories, I can tell you write poetry."
It seems that writing poetry serves also to inform my prose.
I write poetry to express the inexpressible and find out what my subconscious knows that I have yet to discover. But also, sometimes, to simply play with words.
If you’d like to share why you write poetry, please send an e-mail to email@example.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.