Friday, September 14, 2012

Poetry Writing Challenge Tip #10: Read Poetry by Other Poets... and more



Today’s tip is sort of funny coming on the heels of my Writing Confession yesterday. Wait – don’t ask about the confession, I’ll link to it at the end but I need, for now, your eyes and presence right here.
Yes, right here.

And I will make a confession especially for you, but it is a confession from the past: When I first started writing poetry seriously, I rarely – if ever – read other poetry. I didn’t know where to look, I didn’t have the desire, I wasn’t an English major and who but English major reads poetry?

You would think after seeing Dead Poet’s Society I would be leaping out of my feet to read poetry.
Truth be told, that is about when I started reading. It started with Frances Mayes book, Discovery of Poetry,  which I picked up as a poetry writing how-to book. It was that and more. It suggested “how to” and then gave you poems to read.

That is when I did the surprising thing: I actually read the poems offered on the page!



Can you guess what Tip #10 is?

TIP #10 - Read poetry by other poets. Better yet, Read poetry a loud. Best of the bunch, Read other poets than the ones you are accustomed to reading  aloud daily. The finest of all - Read poetry by other poets aloud each day from now through OctPoWriMo.

Elizabeth Barret Browning and her son, Pen.
I started doing this when I was practicing an English accent for theater work.  I would read Elizabeth Barrett Browning aloud, it just felt so wonderful to pronounce the words as she may have when she was writing.

It is through getting to know this poetry and appreciating metrical poetry so well that I became a much better composer of poetry. It even helped my acting: when I appeared in the Shakespeare Play The Winter’s Tale  I spoke a monologue, completely in verse.

As you never hope happens – but occasionally does – I forgot my exact words.

So I hopped to language improv (Sorry, William!) and I was able to do it keeping the rhyme and meter intact. Phew! All because I read other poets aloud.


This Top 10 Read Aloud list from the Poetry Foundation has two women poets (at the end) and commentary mentioning a woman poet.

Here is a top 10 about READING poetry as a woman from the blog "Reading While Female".

Since I could find no lists with a significant number of women poets, I will post an addendum for you to read aloud. I’ll let you know when it is here.


Now, I love the male poets and I love men – my honey and others can attest to that. I just believe in pouring forth from both perspectives, male and female.

With that said….

Have a poetic day and before you go – choose your first poem to read aloud today from the links above! And be sure to register for OctPoWriMo if you haven't yet. Here's a link for you to sign up now.


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