Here they are:
- Poetry helps you to know things more fully. When I turn things over to put them into verse, I often find that I have to shift my perspective, usually to see more closely. In a poem of gratitude, Amen, I was thinking about how happy the spring had arrived. I sat by the lake thinking of all that was going on. I passed beyond the big things moving closer and wider to see a broader picture than had originally come to mind.
- Poetry commands your attention. There’s reading and then there’s reading. You can’t skim a poem and get what the writer sets forth for you, which is not the whole of it. The rest is filled in with a big part of who you are. Really, when you think about it, anything you can comprehend is understood from the context or frame of reference you have. Poems leave a little more room for you in the verses.
- Poetry can sustain good conversation. Two people can read the same poem and get very different things out of it. I’ve had some really interesting conversations around poetry. In fact, one of the poems I wrote called What Could I Lose brought a woman to tears, whereas it made me smile when I wrote it. After the reading she spoke with me and made me understand where the poem transported her.
- Poetry writing asks you to dig deeper. It feels like Twitter sometimes. Poetry makes no restrictions on the number of characters you use, or the words. However, you work to tell your story, to convey your thoughts and emotions, reflections and opinions. And you do this in verse form instead of prose. One of the shortest poems in my book Partly Cloudy didn’t make it the the table of contents and yet it got a lot of feedback, both commiseration and query of What led you to feel that way?