I can't believe it's already the last week of April! Which means, sadly, the last week of National Poetry Month. I thought it would be fun to spend some of the week exploring how to write your own poems. Though I'm not sure there is such a thing as "how to" when it comes to poetry. (If you've seen Dead Poets Society, you know what I'm talking about- "Be gone, Mr. Pritchard!"). Anyway, if there is one book that I would recommend for setting aside inhibition when it comes to writing poetry, it is poemcrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge.
I love this book because it is NOT a heavy dose of academia. The short chapters are chock full of Ms. Wooldridge's own experience with the power of poetry- as writer and teacher. There are exercises, anecdotes, famous poems, as well as, those of her students(who range in age from elementary students to adults). Often, I simply open it to a random chapter, and let the Muse that inhabits those pages carry me. I have found that following her suggestions, playing with words, toying with who I am in poem form, does in fact set me free from a long day of crappy blood sugars or a bout of depression. Sometimes, it's not even troubled emotions that draw poemcrazy into my hands. Sometimes, it is about the moment, about laughter and wanting to find a beautiful way to translate joy into words.
One of my favorite chapters is "Our Real Names." Here, Ms. Wooldridge invites us to play with the idea that our real names aren't necessarily the ones on our birth certificate, rather they are made up of our passions, our fears, our wildest dreams. She says: Poetry can be about naming ourselves. And creating a name can be like writing a poem. As part of the prompt for discovering our real name, she also incorporates the idea that it can change over time. Here's a (slightly embarrassing) example of my own name searching.
Yesterday, when you asked
I offered only sugardrenched and hopeless
Today my name is horsedaughter wild as wind
Just try and catch me-
Tomorrow my name
Poemcrazy has inspired me to connect the dots of my life with images and words. It has helped me uncover magical places I didn't know were hidden away and acknowledge the darker corners, illuminating them with a bit of starlight.
Because this book is so wonderful, I would LOVE to give away a copy! To enter yourself in a random drawing, simply leave a comment below and sign it with one of your "real names." Be sure to post your comment by midnight(CDT) this Friday, April 29th. I will announce the winner on Sunday, May 1st!