poetry is

The Poety Is eCourse is BACK . . . with a Giveaway!

Poetry Is . . . is back!

My 6 week writing ecourse designed to help you fall in love with poetry again is open for registration again! You can find out all the details and register HERE . . . or keep reading for a lusicious giveaway + your chance to win a free spot in the course.

But first, a little about Poetry Is . . .

A ROLLICKING ADVENTURE IN WORDPLAY + SELF-DISCOVERY

We all remember it -- how, sometime around the time the girls in our class starting sprouting breasts and the boys' chins blossomed into the uncertain beginnings of beards, the fun poetry of our childhood gave way to The Reading, Memorization, and Exegesis of Very Serious Poems. 

Suddenly, we weren't playing with limericks for the silliness and enjoyment of it, but for the academics of it. Poetry transformed into an awkward, heavy, and undecipherable behemoth of a thing. And if we couldn't even understand half the poems we were required to read for English class, how in the world could we ever dream of writing our own, no matter how the words within us called for it?

But: 

what if it didn't have to be like that?

What if poetry could be fun again?

What if poetry could be light? 

What if we could read poetry with understanding?

What if poetry could be:

silly / sacred / informative / cathartic / playful / approachable / flexible / happy / awesome / an adventure / {fill in your favorite "What if?" here}?

WHAT IF POETRY ALREADY IS ALL OF THESE THINGS AND MORE, BUT YOU JUST DIDN'T KNOW IT?

I believe that it is. 

For everybody.

For you.

Here. Now. In real time. In the midst of your busy life.

Discover all the juicy details here.

The Giveaway

Up for grabs is one free spot in Poetry Is. Huzzah! To enter, simply enter your email in the form below.

For extra entries, share this post on your favorite social media site, then tell me you did so in the comments. The giveaway closes + the winner is announced on Thursday, February 18.

And!! Anyone who enters the giveaway will receive an exclusive coupon code to get Poetry Is for 25% off. So even if you don't get the free spot, you still win big.

Enter the giveaway by submitting your details here:

Find Your Words {Free LIVE Writing Class!}

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The next round of Find Your Words is coming up on Monday, February 22, at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST. Yay!

Sign up here to reserve your spot, or keep reading to find out more:

Claim your spot!

Enter your email to sign up for the free Find Your Words class.

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Are you looking for help getting over your fear in writing, or your procrastination? Or maybe you simply need some inspiration and companionship for the journey. Then you'll love my free writing class, Find Your Words. In this free webinar, you'll be learning about a key foundation for your writing career, plus one surprising place you can go to find inspiration. You'll take away:

  • a low-stress way to find inspiration and get words down on paper — that you’re probably already doing
  • the beginnings of a daily writing habit
  • the confidence to trust your own creativity + words
  • PLUS you'll come away with the first draft of a written poem (or other piece of writing in the format of your choice)

In this class we'll be working with poetry, but the takeaways are applicable for whatever kind of writing you do, be it poetry, fiction, memoir, etc. For more info watch this video (and please disregard the timing mentioned! we'll be meeting February 22 at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST):

Enter your email below to save your spot in Find Your Words:

Claim your spot!

Enter your email to sign up for the free Find Your Words class.

We won't send you spam. Ever. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

I'll see you on February 22!


Introducing She Writes Wild + Free Sample!

If you follow me on Instagram or Periscope, you may have heard me mumbling somewhat incoherently about a writing course that I've been working on. Incoherently because that's how I get when I'm in creation mode -- laser focused on the goal, with not a lot of energy to spare for extras like breathing or forming cohesive sentences. 

But I'm coming up for air now that the course is pretty much finished (!!!). She Writes Wild is a 6 week e-course in wordplay and self-discovery that will help you find your words, equip you to grow as a writer, and lead you into a deeper + more vibrant understanding of yourself. 

Sound intriguing? You can learn more HERE.

But that's not why I'm writing today. Nope, today is all about giving you the first section of She Writes Wild for free.

Yep, you get a whole week of the course FOR FREE, right here, right now. Are you ready? Let's go . . . !


She Writes Wild

Week One: Poetry as Play

“Poetry doesn't have to rhyme, it just has to touch someone where your hands couldn’t.”

— Rudy Akbarian (source)

I don’t know about you, but for the longest time, whenever I heard the word poetry my mind would recall agonizing over dense stanzas, trying to suss out their seemingly indistinguishable meanings, and attempting to recreate Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter. Meaning: poetry felt difficult, obtuse, and impossible to understand. It felt painful, like drudgery, like a whole lot of work with very little reward.

But — does it have to be? That’s what we’ll be exploring this week.

 

Poetry is For Everybody

“Poems hang out where life is.”

— Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge, Poemcrazy

Poetry wasn’t always an exercise in masochism. Think back to when you were a child, to the limericks your teacher had you pen and the sing-songing rhymes you sang and silly stories you were read in verse. Were these poems impossible, or headache-inducing? Probably not.

And yet, they are poetry.

Hang on. I can practically hear you thinking, “Well, sure, it’s poetry . . . but poetry for kids. That’s different.”

Nope. Not different. Poetry. And written by respectable, “real” poets. 

Take a few minutes to read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride,” and then “Dream Variations” by Langston Hughes. Next, consider the following:

  • what do these poems feel like to read? 
  • how do they challenge your preexisting notions of what poetry is?
  • based on these poems, how might you redefine poetry?
  • how have your feelings about writing poetry changed, if at all?

Feel free to journal on any or all of these questions, and to chat about it in the Facebook group.

 

Poetry Doesn’t Have to be Impossible

What if we threw out the notion that so many of us picked up in high school that poetry has to be impossible, impenetrable, and pain-filled? What if we found ourselves free to write a understandable story in verse form, like “Paul Revere’s Ride,” or to communicate our experiences of nightfall as Hughes does so lyrically and accessibly in “Dream Variations”?

What if poetry wasn’t just for the ivory tower, for academia, but for all of us?

I believe that this is true. 

And, more to the point, I believe that it is true for you.

“Is this play, poetry, art or silliness? Who cares?”

— Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge, Poemcrazy

 

The Freedom to Write

I’ve wanted to be a writer for about as long as I can remember. And for me, “being a writer” meant writing fiction books. But interestingly, as an adolescent, whenever I gave myself freedom to write just for me, and not for a school assignment, I found poems tumbling from my pen.

At the very same time that I was struggling through poetry units in school, I was freely creating my own poems at home.

But I dismissed my poetry writing. It felt too easy, not at all like the poems I had to read for school. It couldn’t possible be “real” poetry, I thought, because it was far too opaque, too accessible.

Except — I was wrong. And since giving my poems a chance to stand on their own, I’ve found that they have the strength to do so. Even though they’re not brain twisters. Even though they’re written for you and me, and not only for the highest thinkers (whatever that means!).  

Maybe your story goes a little like this, too. Maybe you’ve long held beliefs about the legitimacy of your words, the value of your poems. 

I’m here to tell you — it’s time to release those beliefs. They are shackles to your creativity and, as a result, to your personal vitality. 

If you have poems that you want to write, or even if you just want to see if you can write poetry, then do it. Let yourself. And then let yourself believe that they are true and real and valuable, for yourself and the world.

 

Accessible Doesn’t Have to Mean Simplistic

I think that there is another common misconception that leads to us devaluing accessible poetry: that, if a poem is understandable, it somehow is less important, less meaningful, less powerful.

This is not the case. Take Shel Silverstein’s poem “Listen to the Mustn’ts.” Silverstein’s feisty, often-silly poetry was a huge craze in my school when I was ten years old. Kids were reading it on their own, unprompted by parents or teachers, for fun. 

And yet — this poem. It is comprehensible, accessible — but packs a punch. It hits me right in the feels. It is the encouragement that I need to read everyday of my life. 

Or consider another poem by Silverstein, “Forgotten Language.” This is from The Giving Tree, which we’ll come back to later in the course. Even though this is a very simple poem, without complicated vocabulary, obtuse imagery, or meticulous composed rhyme and meter, I find it hard-hitting. There is so much emotion here, and so many rich levels of meaning — yet, again, it is comprehensible to readers of nearly any reading ability. 

There is nothing wrong with poetry that is dense or hard to understand. But often the difficulties we had with poetry during our education negatively impact our abilities to write or believe in our own poems. 

How do Silverstein’s words inspire you? How do they challenge you?

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”

― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

 

Writing Assignment for Week One: Find Some Poetry

For our first assignment, let’s have some fun and create found poems. According to the Academy of American Poets, “Found poems take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poems. The literary equivalent of a collage, found poetry is often made from newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters, or even other poems” (source).

Here’s one way I go about creating a found poem.

Found poetry is a great way to ease into writing poems. There is no blank page to face down, no words to conjure up. Instead, all you have to do is play. 

Have fun, and share your creations in the Facebook group!

 

Reading for Week One

Read sections one (Following Words) and two (Listening to Ourselves) of Poemcrazy.

 

Fill-the-Well Adventure Assignment

Go to the library and check out a children’s book. Read it. 

 

Bonus Reading

How to Be Creative When You Are Busy by Joe Bunting

How to Overcome the Fear of Sharing Your Writing in Public by Leo Babauta

Newspaper Blackout Poems by Diana Adams

My Inspiration Comes From My Weirdness by Ksenia Anske

Interview with Billy Collins from The Paris Review

 

Bonus Writing Assignments

Complete the practice activities from this week’s reading of Poemcrazy.

“Play around. Dive into absurdity and write. Take chances. You will succeed if you are fearless of failure.” 

Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones


Like what you see? Want more?

Check out all the details about She Writes Wild here!