|Poetry is an elegant and refined art form|
Poetry; it is a very pretty word for a very pretty art form. Yet poetry has a reputation for being ever so dry and dusty, the kind of writing only intellectual types enjoy. I must confess that as a school girl I thought that I hated poetry - now I know that what I hated was having to analyse poems, stanza by stanza and pigeon hole them for the purposes of the curriculum. When I was at university I loved studying poetry because the class was completely different to school lessons; at uni we were encouraged to express our own interpretations of the poems, rather than being told 'the poet obviously meant this when he wrote that line'.
It must be said that the hey day of poetry has long since passed. From the 15th to the 18th centuries, poetry was at its most popular and the poets themselves were like the pop stars of their day. The Romantic Movement cemented poetry into the very bedrock of British literature and can boast names such as Byron, Shelley, Keats, Burns, Rossetti, Tennyson etc. Sadly poetry of this nature has had its day; but it has never disappeared. While modern poets rarely achieve celebrity status for their collections and making a good living from poetry alone is nigh on impossible, poetry is still around us all the time. Greetings cards, rap artists, children's rhymes, commercial jingles...all are forms of basic poetry. While traditional poetry is an elegant and refined art form there is nothing pretentious about being a poet, for poetry exists to bring out our deepest emotions and to document the trails and triumphs of the human condition. This effectively means that poetry is in all of us; we can all relate to it in some way.
I am a poet. I am proud to be a poet. Poetry is the very lynch pin of my entire career as a writer, the staples that hold everything together. It was the first type of writing I ever had published; not in a high artistic sense, but in the form of humorous poems designed to make people laugh. As I moved forward in my career, original poetry of a more artistic romantic style became the trademark of my work - visionary dreamscape poems expressing a connection to something magical and ethereal are dotted throughout my books as an introduction to a new chapter.
Writing books on spell casting for the Mind, Body, Spirit market means that much of my work is poetry based, for what is an incantation after all, if not a type of poem? Even my column with Spirit&Destiny magazine is based on the power of the written charm and the traditional form of petition magic; it is the poetic incantation of my column that sets my work apart from other aspects of the magazine, while the modern tone blends in with that of a 21st century women's magazine.
It was a love of my poetry that made the producers of Paradise Music get in touch and ask me to write and record a pagan album for release on their label - they liked that I frequently write to iambic pentameter rhythm which translates more easily to a musical time signature. It made sense to me that I would one day write songs - I love singing and I often hear a mental melody when I am writing poetry anyway, so for me, becoming a pagan singer-song-writer was a no-brainer; it was simply a natural progression of my work as a writer. Yet it came about from my work as poet.
If you want to try your hand at writing poetry the important thing to remember is that you are writing for a modern audience. As much as you might love the old romantic poets trying to emulate them is the best way to achieve rejection. We already have the poetic back catalogue of the Bronte sisters - we don't need a bad Bronte impersonator! Emulating the great writers looks and is rather pretentious. It is certainly not the way to get published as it comes across to editors as being very juvenile. Poetry is neither pretentious nor juvenile when it is written with integrity.
Write your poetry from the heart; feel every word and make you reader empathize with your point of view. Paint pretty word pictures and one day you might also be proud to call yourself a published poet.
Poetry has been the guiding star of my career as a professional writer ...who knows where your poetry will take you? Toast the moon, drink absinthe and wax lyrical!