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 JR Simmang, who writes of poetry, “In short, it's like having a teenager.”
JR Simmang has an eclectic mix of knick-knacks lining the walls of his house in Austin, TX. His pride and joy are his daughter and wife, respectively, who support his writing habits and his teaching career. His poems have appeared online and in the 2015 Poet's Market.
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Why I Write Poetry: JR Simmang
To be completely honest, poetry has never been a good friend. It has abandoned me with an empty tank on the side of the road. It has eaten my last slice of birthday cake. It has locked me out of my house. It's one of the reasons I stay up at night or wake up early.
In short, it's like having a teenager.
You spend all this time nurturing it, feeding it with a spoon, taking it to the bathroom, brushing its hair, and in the end, it slams your face in its door and winds up doing what it wants anyway.
But, it's yours. And, no matter what happens, in the end, you'll still invite it over for Thanksgiving.
That's the relationship I've always had with poetry, and, despite it, I've grown to love it. I started officially writing poetry in middle school as a joke with my friends. The joke wound up being on me, because I couldn't stop. I kept my journal with me, and two pens tucked into my pocket, everywhere I went. Two pens, in case one of them spontaneously exploded or got secreted away in a waiter's billfold.
As most good things do, my poetry writing slipped in college. I think it was because I sometimes fell asleep in the library. After I met my wife, she reminded me of all the things I used to put in my notebook, and like an old friend, poetry showed back up on my doorstep.
I pound my head against the wall, tear up pages upon pages of paper, fill notebooks, and I do it for the same reason I raise my child. I write poetry because I know that despite all the heartache and the questions about whether or not I'm doing the right thing, I eagerly anticipate the beauty that comes when it's finished. I write poetry because I don't want to miss the first steps, the first hugs, the first I love yous. I write because, well, otherwise I wouldn't. And that simply won't do.
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.