Great Poetry Reading Day 2021

As you long-haul readers know, we’re all about self-improvement in here. If you’re new here, stick around, and we’ll bring you up to speed. Anyhow, show of hands: who here likes to write? Now, obviously I do, otherwise this blog wouldn’t be here.

There’s lots of things to write, be it a story, a list, random stuff, or a poem. This brings me to today’s post topic: Great Poetry Reading Day. Now, what counts as “great” poetry is obviously gonna be subjective. For instance, some may think Poet ABC is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and others may think their poetry sucks donkey balls. Others may think Poet XYZ is the bee’s knees, and it’s something we have to read in order to be seen as whatever attribute.

Maybe at some point in school, you got a certain writer’s works within the canon of poetry shoved at you and told that this was the greatest poetry writer that ever was. Why, this writer’s works were so great that the words to describe it haven’t even been invented yet.

Maybe you liked it, which is cool by all means. Or maybe you’re like me, and you couldn’t get into it no matter how hard you tried.

Maybe you were told that poetry had to be a specific way or it wasn’t “real” poetry, and were beaten over the head with it accordingly. Not literally, lol, but true story.

Maybe you were told to do it for a school assignment, and the teacher decided to bytch about your work because it didn’t fit their mold, or worse, give you a lesser grade as a result. Also true story.

I’m here to tell you, there’s nothing wrong with you if you’re not a fan of whatever writer’s poetry got presented to you as the definitive or gold standard of poetry. You gave it a shot for whoever’s sake, and you tried.

At the end of the day, that’s what counts.

Lucky for us, whatever writer’s poetry isn’t the end-all, be-all. There’s so many other works and writers out there, just waiting for us to find them.

There’s also no one specific way to write poetry. It can take many forms, and it doesn’t have to rhyme.

Ironically enough, I started writing poetry on my own time after a school assignment in 8th grade, and to the teacher’s credit, they didn’t specify a technique or rhyming scheme that we had to follow. This was also around the time I got a copy of  T-Boz’s Thoughts from Waldenbooks after school.

That’s the book in the picture. I saw it promoted in a magazine, and mentally added it to my shopping list. As soon as we had the money, I got it. As you can tell from the photo, that book’s been (and still is!) loved. It’s my pride and joy.

I read it as soon as we got home, and I set my gym bag down at the foot of my bed. I turned on the radio to the pop music station, since this was around the time I shifted toward other music genres outside of country, flopped down on my bed, and started reading.

I probably had homework to do, but whatevs. It wasn’t gonna get done, so what else is new?

I couldn’t put this book down! It also helped me reframe what poetry meant to me, instead of accepting Teacher So-and-so’s idea as the end-all, be-all of poetry and what it looked like. It made poetry accessible to me, and inspired some of my own.

I’m not sure which of the ones I wrote got turned in for the assignment. I doubt I even still have it at this point. I know most of them are long gone by now, lost to the ages.

Off and on over the years after that assignment, I used to keep a notebook just for poetry, so it didn’t get mixed in with my other stuff.

In college, after a couple of poetry classes, one I liked, and one ended up being a hot mess, it fell by the wayside. After the hot mess class, I called a moratorium on all things poetry until after I got my degree.

My most recent poetry notebook is the journal in the photo. I put it in with my blogging stuff, and it was in the first round of stuff I brought to the new house, along with the bag with everything from my day job. Even though I’ve had ideas bouncing around for awhile, I haven’t started writing in it yet.

Maybe I’ll change that this weekend, since work at my day job’s hit a dry spell.

In Thoughts, T-Boz talked about how she wrote the poems in that book in a hotel room one night, when she wasn’t feeling good. Writing these was therapeutic to her, it was a form of self-care.

That really spoke to me, since I was going through a really difficult time in my life. Looking back, I guess we could say that it was my way of taking whatever agency I was able to at the time.

Writing as a form of self-care can look any number of ways, and what it looks like for you will probably be different than what it looks like for me.

Over to you, readers. Have you written poetry before? Got any favorite poems by other authors? Drop ’em like they’re hot below, and let’s get the party started.

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2 Comments

  1. I love this! Making poetry accessible is so important.

    1. Hey, thanks for your feedback! Access to poetry is important for sure, both from a literary and an artistic standpoint.

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