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Poetry and Play

Yesterday was World Poetry Day. Do you ever write poetry? I know that I’m no poet. I once took a piece of my descriptive writing and removed all the extra words in an attempt to write a poem. It was not a success.

I don’t read much poetry, either, but I should. It’s a good exercise. I do love Maxine Kumin’s poem, “Hello, Hello Henry.”

Poetry is about playing with words. It’s about beauty, feeling, form, rhythm, and so much more. We should strive to make our prose more poetic.

April is National Poetry Month, and I’ll discuss poems a bit more then. For now, see if you can conjure your inner poet this week. Play with words. Make your descriptions more poetic. Use metaphor. Try your hand at haiku (an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually five, seven, and five syllables) or cinquain (an unrhymed poem consisting of five lines arranged in a special way).

Then, you may want to purchase one of the on-demand videos from my Writing Detail and Description coaching program to help you make your experiences as vivid on the page as they are in your memory:

  • Sensory Detail – You know what your five senses are, but how can you use them to amplify your text? This video discusses what sensual writing is and how it can transform your descriptive writing.
  • Simile and Metaphor – What is the goal of figurative writing and how does it differ from literal language? What are the characteristics of effective similes and metaphors? Learn all about similes and metaphors and how best to use them in your stories.
  • Specificity – Be amazed at the difference a little specificity makes in your writing. What is specificity, you ask? This video tells you all about it and how one simple tool helps you write like a pro.

You can purchase the videos here. Shake things up a bit. Describe something beautiful. Play with words. Enjoy!

photo credit: A_Peach Flower greeting via photopin (license)


  • BeverlyBailey
    Posted March 23, 2018 at 9:52 am

    I love poetry, though I like some types more than others. Dr. Suess is as popular now as he ever was; most songs are poems set to music—even rap. We are surrounded by not only rhyme but all the nuances of words set in more than fifty forms, such as sonnet, haiku, free verse, epic, ballads, odes, limerick. All can be classified as lyrical, narrative, or dramatic poetry. Robert Frost says that poetry is an emotion that becomes a thought; that thought then finds words. I also like what Carl Sandburg wrote about poetry: It is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air.

    I have written poetry for a long time,and some has been published. One of the most satisfying creative activities I like to experience is becoming immersed in a thought that digs into word mines to find the perfect nuggets to say what my heart feels. I throw dozens of nuggets away before I see the shiny gold one that illuminates the thought. Here’s a quick attempt at writing a haiku. I went out early this morning to check whether the frost had damaged any plants in our garden. This is what I saw:

    Water diamonds
    Struck by the morning sun’s rays
    Sparkle on bean leaves.

  • Judi
    Posted March 23, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    The only poet I can say I enjoyed is Kahlil Gibran. “The Prophet” especially was an outstanding piece of work. Each page shows a new way to look at things, a soft, spiritual way. If you haven’t read any of his poetry, I recommend you give it a try….

    • Post Author
      Posted March 24, 2018 at 10:11 am

      Thank you for sharing, Judi. I appreciate the work of Kahlil Gibran as well. I am especially fond of his work in “Sand and Foam.” Very lyrical and romantic. I like your thought about being able to see things in “a soft, spiritual way.” A lovely way to put it.

  • Post Author
    Posted March 24, 2018 at 10:15 am

    Beverly, your haiku is fantastic. What a glorious visual of something so simple, yet beautiful. I admire those who can write haiku poetry because of how challenging it is to get all you want to say in only five, seven and five more syllables. It makes me appreciate the word selection all the more.What an interesting way to describe your process as mining for the gold nuggets of words.

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