Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Not a poet? Think again.

Last evening I drove about forty miles to Jefferson County Chapter of the Missouri Poetry Society, led my Billy and Faye Adams. What a wonderful event!

I am a wordy essayist, a long-winded letter writer, a jabber jaw. But one evening I heard a poet read aloud at a St. Louis Writer's Guild event. I was amazed. His poems, mostly free verse, sounded like greatly condensed versions of my essays. "If this is poetry, I can do THIS!" I thought. I hurried home and took a four page story I had been working on and pared it down to one page. I presented it to my critique group who were blown away by the short version, which ended up being a poem that won a prize.

So, you think you're not a poet? Try it, just take an essay and remove all unnecessay words. Write so tight it hurts, and then read the words aloud and amaze yourself. Tweak it here and there and then send it off. Let it take wing. It will either fly away or return to you.

Come on! You can do it, you don't have to worry about rhyming words, no sing song silly stuff. Just write from YOUR heart and chop it down to bite size.

Missouri Review is seeking contemporary fiction, poetry, essays, and they PAY $30 per accepted page.


Bookie said...

Very intersting and good advice...also thanks for the market. Inspiration has been lame here lately but I haven't given up hope of getting back to thinking, writing, etc. Winter is on the way and good for that...about the only thing winter is good for though in my book. :)

Linda O'Connell said...

Hi Claudia,
I'm with you ~ winter zaps my energy and makes me irritable. My poetry was wellr eceived, but I don't send it because I think it's not professional enough. I should just do it and not worry. Nothing could be worse than when I sent a humor column by mistake to the Smithsonian. Ugh

Tammy said...

"Write so tight it hurts" should be a book title. Or a sign to hang over a writing desk. Or a poem, which you have managed to inspire me to try my hand at again! Thanks for the link.

Lynn said...

Thanks Linda - I actually wrote some Haiku today. I like the "write so tight it hurts" and that could be used for everything we write!

Pat Wahler said...

The narrative type poetry that's currently in vogue really does feel like a mini-story.


Linda O'Connell said...

Thanks, and I am glad I inspired you. You inspire me.

Linda O'Connell said...

Lynn, I wish I could write haiku. I should give it a whirl. That is really a good example of brevity. Glad you're writing.

Linda O'Connell said...

That is a oerfect description, mini essay. I like that!