Writing Poetry

A couple of days ago I received the proofs for my two poems, “Galaxy Court Judge” and “Revelation to an Alien”, that are to be included in the anthology, The Best of Every Day Poets II.

A couple of days before that I saw this submission window open at The Australian Poetry Journal.

Together, they prompted me to stop and think about the joys of writing poetry. I need the reminder because, being busy with fiction writing, I’ve neglected sitting down in a corner and working on a poem.

Why does this matter?

Writing poetry activates different writing skills. Yes, words are important — the building blocks — whenever you write, but for me it’s in poetry that every word has to DO something or else get thrown overboard. If I tested every word the same way in fiction…well, I think my brain would freeze up. For me, fiction writing means finding a balance between the words and the story. In poetry, that balance shifts big-time to the words.

More than that. In poetry, I have to find the emotion in each word, and how those emotions shift, decline, explode, as those words line up alongside one another.

Poetry seems to me to be the most intimate of all public writing. We like poetry on our greeting cards because it draws us into a shared human experience, whether in celebration or sympathy.

Poetry is where I take my writing risks.

And because today is National Bookshop Day here in Australia, I think I might just treat myself to a new poetry anthology … I love anthologies for poetry. Lots of variety.


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