WHY DO I WRITE POETRY?
My love of poetry started with Dr Seuss and A.A. Milne. As I got older, my love for poetry continued to grow, but I never dreamed that I would become a poet.
I began to write when I realised that the poets I loved were moved by the same things that inspire me - beauty, pain, love, grief, desire. Poetry is an excellent way to explore those emotions and experiences that are common to us all.
When I write a poem, I want the reader to connect with my thoughts and feelings. I want it to sound beautiful, and I want it to really mean something to the person who reads it. That all takes work, but the reward comes when someone says that my poem really moved them.
Every time I write, I know that I have touched people's lives, and I want to do that again. That's why I write poetry.
MY APPROACH TO WRITING POETRY
If you're not really a poetry reader, it may reassure you to know that it's not always super-formal language and words that are hard to understand. Sometimes it is- especially if you're approaching poetry written a hundred or more years ago. For me, making it so elegant and clever that people are afraid of it really defeats the purpose. I want the reader to connect with what I'm saying, not feel like I'm some super-intellectual with an over-active sense of rhyme.
It's also helpful to understand that there are different types of poetry. Some types, like sonnets, are formal in structure and rhyme pattern, and a poet really has to stick to those rules. Other types, like free verse, is much more liberated and often easier to understand because those same rules don't apply.
Some people these days insist that poems shouldn't rhyme at all - to that, I say-- possibly rather loudly and perhaps quite rudely - "Poppycock!". There is nothing wrong with using rhyme, or any other tool in the poet's toolbox, as long as meaning is not sacrificed for the sake of making that device work. I write poetry that rhymes, but I also write poetry that doesn't.
I don't aim for things to sound pretty and sing-song, or to rhyme neatly, but I do try to use language that sounds beautiful when its read. The important thing is to choose words, and language styles and poetic techniques that suit my subject and deliver the meaning the way I want it to be understood.
I aim for my ideas and feelings to be communicated in a way that makes someone stop and think, and maybe see something or someone in a new way.
Sometimes my writing helps me - and other people - make sense of what's going on in my head or in my life. It's the best therapy, because I get to explore and deal with my thoughts and feelings as I work with the ideas, and I always have an outlet to say what's on my heart and mind.
And sometimes I write poems because it's the only way I can find to say what other people are afraid to say. I'm happy to provide a voice for others, and I'm always keen to have my readers see situations or experiences from different perspectives.