I've told this story before, but today I'll uncover what elements of poetry make it so endearing to me.
So join in, and let me know why you love poetry in the comments sections below. I'd love to hear from you.
Happy New Years everyone! I couldn't have done this without all of you.
Why I Love Poetry
When I was just seven years old, I was given this book of Poetry for Christmas. I just fell in love with the usage of language in those lines, and I think every line is engraved on my soul forever. But why choose Poetry? As a young child like that, I know part of it spoke to my inner being due to its lyrical quality. Much like the oral traditions of our ancestors, poetry resonated with my inner being and I memorized its points due to the musical quality of words. All of this played together as a beautiful song, and my heart longed to be a part of it.
Just months after receiving that poetry book, I started to try my hand to write some poetry myself. I don’t promise my first poems were any good, but early on, I learned to read my compositions aloud to hear the notes of the different words with the syllables resounding off my palette. Watching a poet compose can be a lot like watching a mental patient, walking back and forth, repeating the same lines over and over again. Like most writers, the poet is looking for just the right word, and with the right note to make his point, or draw attention to his poignant idea.
Poetry is the highest form of art. Those seeking to master this medium are seeking to be relevant, insightful, and be heard. Poetry paints a beautiful picture, or maybe not such a beautiful one, but one can’t dismiss it as an art form due to its very nature. The aesthetic quality of poetry qualifies it as art, and if that isn’t enough, surely the lyrical quality will guarantee its place with the other humanities.
As a poet, when I approach writing poetry, it is handled in a very different way than I would compose anything else. My process for poetry is much more organic, and hard to shortcut. I compose with pen and paper first always. You connect to your writing in a different way than using technology as part of your process. Yes, I’m in the process of trying to put my poetry compositions into a digital format for ease, but I never start there. But also as a poet, my words are selected very carefully because the demands of poetry dictate terse language with each word having to be spot on.
While it took me a long time to admit that I am a writer, I’ve always identified myself as a poet, since the age of about nine anyway. Sure, in those early days I used traditional rhyme schemes and searched for meter. My poems were very auditory, and also as a musician, it can be a device that aids with learning new concepts and ideas. If a word is wrong, your ear will just hear it, and listen for the correct sound. Find the sound, and you’ve found your word, much like a composer.
There is also a visual side to poetry as well. The aesthetics come from our use of carefully laid metaphors creating a beautiful fresco or painting for the imagination. Much like a painter, words create the backdrop of our lives whether we write or not. Often we are just trying to recreate a scene, a vision in our minds. All painters begin with an idea, and as a registered decorative artist, I can say this is true. That idea then yields to the process of creativity. From an idea, the painter takes his idea and turns it into a sketch. The sketch then turns to a painting by use of adding colors, lightest to darkest or darkest to lightest depending on the desired effect. The fundamental difference is that most painters see their finished product in their minds first, whereas, the poet does not. Poetry exists just for it’s own sake.
Poetry offers us a way to glimpse at part of world and respond to it in a personal and intimate way. Poetry is a valid and important thing to do with your life, though there isn’t enough recognition for it in this country. Poetry makes the ordinary, extraordinary. Poetry offers us a piece of ourselves that we can’t get any other way. Whether in the solitary confines of my house sipping tea, or in a bustling café, you’ll find me with one of my small notebooks hoping to share with the world the nuances of the mind through poetry.
I hope you enjoy taking this journey with me, as I've enjoyed taking it with all of you.
Laurie Epps is a senior at Anderson University majoring in Creative Writing. Already Laurie is most published as a feature article writer, essayist, and poet. A seeker of beauty and world traveler, Laurie hopes to grow into a career in travel writing illuminating the many stories that make us human despite our differences. Currently, Laurie also has a Monday Morning Book Club column dedicated to writers everywhere.