First, a disclaimer: I am in no way an authority on poetry; it is just something I happen to do… a lot. In fact, my original blog, One Woman’s Quest, is dedicated to my poetic escapades.
A cancer scare prompted me to start writing a blog in the first place – I needed somewhere to process the panic of awaiting post-lumpectomy results (five weeks, in my case, as it was over Christmas holidays.) By the time I got the all-clear, I was well launched into my writing practice. Early posts are all primarily nonfiction, and based on daily inspirational readings, and then; life turned another corner, and illness struck again.
This time, I was not so lucky – I lost my ability to work, drive, read, watch television, interact with others, and everything else short of self-care. It was devastating, but one ray of light gave me hope. I could still write.
The intensity of my grief could not find sufficient expression in sentence and paragraph form, and thus a poet began to emerge – the words, like miniature life rafts, wafted in and out of my mind begging for release. I gave them expression, and it was as if a hidden damn had broken and images and dreams poured forth and I could barely keep afloat of the burst of creative energy.
To date, I have written hundreds of poems, some palatable, some not, but all with a very distinct purpose – to heal from within.
Today, I had a further revelation about why I write poetry. It came after posting my latest composition: Heartquake.
Writing poetry requires me to be more precise and efficient with my words. It demands a standard of accomplishment, and pushes me to reach deeper inside.
When I am faithful to the art form, I am stretched to demonstrate insight and transformation.
Perhaps, most importantly, poetry is intended to provoke a response, to trigger emotion and stir the unconscious. In rereading Heartquake, I had an aha moment: there between the lines, I recognized that fatal flaw of character that haunts me so insidiously.
Can you spot it too? I won’t confess it here, the point of this post being why I write poetry. Suffice to say, poetry has power – to inspire change – and that makes its effort, all the more worthwhile.