An Argument for Writing Poetry

Written by Emily Harstone

One of the funny things about writing poetry is that most writers either think of themselves as a poet or as a writer. This is not in fact the case, poetry is after all just a form of writing.

However a lot of writers, even writers with lots of experience and published books out, are intimidated by poetry.

This article is not an argument that every writer should be a poet, but rather that every writer should at least try poetry. My argument for this is threefold.

The first is this: It is easy to write a poem in a single sitting. It is an even more efficient form of writing than flash fiction. Writing poetry takes very little time (although writing good poetry takes lots of time).

If you simply do not have much time to write, poetry can be a good way to sneak writing back into your life, opening the door for other forms of writing in the future.

Poetry can seem intimidating with its line breaks and the whole form-versus-free-verse argument, but it is in fact pretty accessible. As long as you don’t end all lines on a form of punctuation, you’re already ahead in terms of poetry. Don’t get overly stressed about lines or stanza breaks while you’re starting out.

If the lack of any real rules intimidate you, this list of 100 Forms of Poetry might be helpful. Just pick one that seems approachable and start writing.

The second argument for writing poetry is this, it is a great way to get around creative blocks. Many of my friends who went through periods of being blocked as a writer started writing poetry during, and that is how they found their way out of the block.

Poetry uses a different writing muscle than prose and writing poetry (poorly even) can help get the ideas flowing.

My third argument for poetry is that poetry can get to something efficiently that prose can’t, not just in terms of being a reader, but in terms of being a writer.

Sometimes writers have ideas they can’t express properly in prose, and poetry can give them a way to do that. I think this is why a lot of people, not just writers, use poetry as a form of therapy. It can be easier to write about the toughest parts of life in poetic form.

I am personally not much of a poetry as therapy writer, but I’ve seen it do a lot of good in the lives of those around me.

I encourage all the readers who’ve never written a poem before (and writing one in school doesn’t count), to write one now. Just set a ten minute timer for yourself and try it. Don’t worry if what you write is a complete mess. This is your first poem, and that in and of itself is an accomplishment.


Bio: Emily Harstone is the pen name of an author whose work has been published internationally by a number of respected journals. She is a professional submissions adviser. You can follow her on Facebook here.

 

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