Why You Should Write Poetry

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Writing poetry is a task that I believe a lot of people find incredibly daunting, especially for people who haven’t written poetry before. Or perhaps, those who think they haven’t written poetry before. Most people I talk to about poetry have a very set way of thinking about the writing style:

There has to be a rhyming pattern.

A poem has to be a certain length.

And let’s not forget my personal favorite:

“Poetry is dead.”

Fortunately, all of the above are false. Most people I know approach poetry with great apprehension because they believe it comes with a strict set of rules that must be followed which they think will prevent their creative juices from flowing. However, poetry is one of the most liberating writing styles I have come to know. Poetry is a style of writing that is a way of allowing someone else to discover your own thoughts and ideas. Poetry is also a style of writing that comes with one rule.

That’s right, there is only one rule when it comes to writing poetry. Of course, there are people that will disagree with me and tell you that there are many requirements to writing a “good” poem. However, this is really the most important thing:

Be yourself.

Whatever you write your poem about, be passionate about it. Write what it is that you want to say. I know from experience that writing poetry about something you don’t care about is much more difficult than writing about something you really care about. Don’t limit yourself because you don’t think it fits the cookie-cutter style of poetry that people are most familiar with.

Reading other poetry is a great way to get inspired, but it doesn’t mean that because you enjoyed the way another poet wrote you have to write the same way.

If this sounds like something that interests you, then you should go for it. Just start writing. Poems don’t have to be long, they don’t have to rhyme, and they certainly aren’t “dead”. Find something in the science fiction and fantasy realms that you are genuinely fascinated about and start writing. Start describing things the way you see them in your mind. Start giving life to things that you never thought could live. Just start writing.

Your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be good, or make sense. There’s a reason they call it a “rough draft”. Next month, I’ll give you a few ideas about what you may want to look for while you’re editing your poem. Until then, check out the Sibyl’s Scriptorium Odyssey Poetry Contest page here for official contest rules and information.