Secrets of good poetry

A “good” poem is meant to be read, not once but as many times as it takes to reach that “oh” moment inherent in each good poem.

Conversely, many poems by new poets and poets who never read poems by other poets have no secrets. One reading reveals all they have to offer, making them boring or long-winded or too personal to connect with readers outside the poet’s private circle.

An effective poem has comparatively few words but much to say. This might be an insight into a spiritual realm few readers enter on their own. Or it might be a call to observe the intricacies of nature and our unique relationships with one another in a particular time and place.

“Good” poems occur as we give ourselves to them, opening our eyes and ears and letting our thoughts touch whatever is around, whether in a physical, mental, or spiritual realm.

Somewhere, somehow a poet must capture wonder, causing readers to perk up, pay attention, and read the lines again.

And, yet, too few of us allow enough time to throw ourselves into poems, whether we’re reading or writing them, but when we do, we come away with an experience or insight or awareness previously unknown to us.

It’s a busy world we live in, and, whether we read or write, poetry slows us down. But, even if you do not buy and read the poetry books occasionally reviewed on this blog, just reading the reviews will give you a feel for good poetry.

Then, if you do leap into faith in poetry, whether your own or someone else’s, be prepared to feel foolish at first! For, most likely you will not “get” what you’re reading the first or second time you read. Or, if you write to discover, as I often do, you might not even get right away what you’re writing.

Nevertheless, go with it! Flow with it. Let the words fall where they may.

Later, you can revisit your own poems and revise, but for the initial writing or reading, abandon yourself to the poem.

A mystery is at work here – a creative force looking for voice.

Give yourself to it.

Give yourself to the poems you write and the poems you read, then be prepared to be amazed!

© 2014 Mary Harwell Sayler

Need help with your poems? Get a critique! Need more help? Read about poetry writing. Need to tune or attune your poetic senses? Read poetry by someone else, which, preferably, would be me.

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