Back to Back Issues Page
3 reasons to write poetry. Editor's Notes #143
April 15, 2013

"I start making [writing poetry] out of a yen to set down a momentary insight, a temporary 'truth' relating somehow to me.
But what turns out is always different, either because the perception got blurred putting it down, or luckily got sharper, ranging beyond the 'reality' that triggered it
and rumbling into a sort of dance with words."

--Earle Birney

In this issue:

1. Reasons to write poetry
2. Tickled my funnybone
3. Interesting Web site

1. Reasons to write poetry
In the last issue, I talked about the benefits of reading poetry. Now it's time to look at the benefits of writing poetry. Note that writing poetry does not always -- or even often -- lead to publishing poetry.

1. The discipline of form
There's something to be said for a flow of consciousness. There is also something to be said for writing within a frame. The very act of making thoughts fit a form forces a writer to use different lenses. Different lenses give different perspectives to ideas.

2. Attention to detail
Poets focus on single words, single syllables, and single sounds. Absolutely nothing slides by. The discipline of trimming each sound to fit into a perfect place makes any writer a better writer.

3. Meaning
Poets make meaning. I sometimes edit pages of prose where I want to scream, "So what?" because the writer has not convinced me anything on the page is important. Although I can scream at a poet, "What do you mean?" I never think the poet has no meaning behind his words. I assume I have to up my reading skills to milk the meaning from the poem. (There are streams of poetry that reach beyond meaning to pure sound. I take these to mean that there is something beyond meaning. What these poems are not, is trite or accidental.)

One subscriber to Editor's Notes got a jump on the rest of you and told me she had set herself the task of writing one poem each day for the whole month of April. What a wonderful writing exercise! That may be more than you think you can handle. But I challenge you to write at least one poem before the end of the month. (If you need an audience, I'd be happy to read what you write. And if you don't want an audience, that's OK, too.)


2.Tickled my funnybone
When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.


3. Interesting Web site
My free course Writing Verse for Children is short and to the point. People who write poetry for adults also find it helpful.

Join Writer's Helper Facebook page at
Follow me on Twitter @AudreytheEditor

If you know a writer who would appreciate receiving Editor's Notes, forward this issue.

If someone has passed this on to you, you can get your own free subscription by signing up at

Back to Back Issues Page