Monday, February 27, 2006

Writing Poetry

By Christina VanGinkel

Writing poetry is a hobby that many people of all ages and genders enjoy participating. Poetry is possibly so popular, because even though there are hard and fast rules with many types of poetry, there are just as many free form styles that allow you to write from the heart without a thought to things like line count and meter. So, whether you like to write limericks, Haiku, love sonnets, or just whatever comes off the top of your head, writing poetry could be the perfect hobby for you.

People do write poetry for many different reasons. Some of the most popular reasons are to relax, as a way to express themselves to those who might read or listen to their poetry, and even to submit to contests and publishers for payment and prizes. I often see advertisements in the backs of all sorts of magazines for poetry writing competitions. As long as nobody takes these too seriously, they can be a fun way to spend your time, both in writing the poems and in submitting them. If your poetry is geared towards children, you could even submit some of it to a few of the popular children's magazines for possible publication. Many of them only pay in contributor's copies, or at the most a small sum, if your works are chosen for publication, but even if they are not, it can still be fun to submit them, and if you are chosen for publication, it is always fun to see your name in print. There are often online magazines that will also publish your work if it fits the theme of their site, so keep a look out when browsing online if you think that is a way you might like to get exposure for your poetry.

Poetry has been so popular throughout the ages, that coffee houses and similar establishments have often held open houses where those who write poetry can come together to read their works for others to critique and enjoy. The popularity of this comes and goes, but it always seems to crop back up. As rural an area that I live in, when a new coffeehouse opened about a year ago, one of the first things they advertised was a weekly open mike poetry reading, where anybody could come in and read their work for the enjoyment of others. I actually thought about going, but in the end, decided my poetry was more the type that was for my eyes only, and maybe a close friend or family member. I also enjoy penning original poems to include on my scrapbook layouts, as it adds a very personal touch that would be hard for others to duplicate.

If you would enjoy sharing your poetry with the world at large, there are those that create websites devoted completely to their poetry works. This may be a bit too much for some, but others enjoy the possibility of so many others having access to what they have written. Again, this is not something I would personally participate in, but if you really ant to share what you write, this would be an ideal way to go about it.

If you just take pleasure in writing for your own personal enjoyment, there is a wide variety of journals to make the storage of your poems more permanent than if you were to just jot them down in a notebook, or on loose leaf paper. Check out the spiral bound Poetry Journal, by Kathleen Olmstead, it has a lot of blank space for penning your own poems, but it also has a smattering of poems from the likes of Shakespeare, Sylvia Plath, Edward Lear, and others for inspiration.

Thoughts from Within: A Poetry Journal, by Carol Giacomucci, includes poems by the author, with empty lines after each poem, for you to pen your own poetry. You could also use it to just write down your impressions of her work, and then take away what you learned to inspire your own poetry later. Either of these journals are fun ways to take your creativity to the next level, or jumpstart your own passion to write poems, if you are unsure of how or where to begin.

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