Everyday Creators: If You Don’t Think You’re a Poet

Editor’s note: Every month at BPB we pick a theme to ponder and help lead us into deeper creativity. This month’s theme is PLANT. April is also poetry month, so every Monday we’re indulging in creatively through sharing poetry. Today, the second Monday of the month, we’re sharing a little inspiration from everyday creators in our community who weave creativity into the everyday. 


Last island hurrah for the year. Say it ain't so.by Hyacynth of Undercover Mother

Poetry stirs myriad emotions through the writing of it, the reading of it and the mere mention of it.

Maybe when you first read that BPB was celebrating poetry month by sharing our poems every Monday you mentally checked out. Maybe our mind flashed back to trying to write a perfectly metered poem in high school or dissecting the meaning of a poem in English class.

Or maybe you thought about how you love reading poetry but you could never actually write a poem that didn’t begin with “roses are red.”

If your initial thought was something along the lines of “I’m a writer or blogger, not a poet,” this is written especially to your heart from mine.

Writing tells a story; as writers we are storytellers and conveyors of thought interwoven with emotion. To me, poetry is a dialect of writing.  The more we practice “speaking” it, the more fluent we become.

When I write poetry instead of a fully-scripted and explained post, I’m aiming to write as vividly as possible with as few powerfully placed words as possible.

Most often these days I write what Melissa termed as “Everyday Poetry,” which tells a story but doesn’t necessarily adhere to any rules of meter or stanzas or rhyming patterns.

And again, the basic idea of Everyday Poetry is to convey deep emotion with as few carefully chosen words as possible.

When writing Everyday Poetry, it’s often helpful to begin by just writing out what you’re feeling and thinking about and then pick out stand out phrases and words.

Often an entire poem will develop from one strong phrase or image in my mind.

In the poem below, the phrase that sparked the whole poem was “but what did we know of love.” This phrase carries the reader through the poem and provides a central theme.

When building upon the phrase or image, I write short, power-packed sentences and try to end and begin each line with strong words.

The goal at the end of each line is to either end a thought or draw the reader into following the thought into the next line.

When writing Everyday Poetry, I try to stay away from trite terms like “saying I do,” when talking about marriage, but sometimes I do use a term term like that simply so I can mix it up and put a new spin on it like in the poem below :

I followed him a few months later

a sparkling diamond on my ring finger

back to his old stomping grounds

promised I did and I do and I would.

But what did I know of vows.”

In developing my poem, I often try to remember to use solid visuals that are specific not only to me and my life but also ones that are universal, ones with which others can empathize. Some of the strength in a poem or story is being able to help the person reading relate deeply to what you’re writing about. Like in the poem below, I think most people who have been in a romantic relationship can relate to this scene:

Looked at each other, hands on hips,

from across the room some nights

before finally giving in,

melting into each other’s arms

wondering aloud

what we knew of love. “

After I’ve flushed out my idea and tried to use plenty of solid images and interesting ways of relaying emotions or experiences, I take out the old ax and begin hacking away at words that don’t add value.

I’m especially harsh with words like “that,” “the,” “about,” “like,” and “and.” It’s not that I never use those words. I do. And they often serve their purpose. I just make sure that they do add value.

Of course, these are just some tips to writing Everyday Poetry! There are really no rules because it’s mostly about conveying deep emotion with as few powerful words as possible.

Here’s the full poem I referenced throughout the post if you’re curious to see the end result.

I grabbed his hand and ran wild into roped off spaces

of ancient digs following a man with a machine gun into the shadows.

He said he knew then that he loved me;

why else would he have followed a wild-child

of a beautiful mess like me into the dark unknown of catacombs

half way around the world from

where he first read about them in books,

dreamed of a brown-eyed girl.

But what did he know of love.

I followed him a few months later

a sparkling diamond on my ring finger

back to his old stomping grounds

promised I did and I do and I would.

But what did I know of vows.

I birthed him two babies

and we built a life and planted a garden

of trust and tears and laughter

in our backyard and living room,

found out what sickness and worse

and pockets of poorer meant.

Looked at each other, hands on hips,

from across the room some nights

before finally giving in,

melting into each other’s arms

wondering aloud

what we knew of love.

I’ve stained his shirt with soft gray smudges of eyeliner

and hot tears more days than not now

in these four weeks and counting

since the baby in my womb traded

breathing amniotic fluid for angel air

And we’ve folded up into conversation

of babies gone

and sleeping soundly in the next room

of heavenly lights

and earthly darkness

of questions pleaded into the night

and answers given by morning sun

of a rugged tree where He was nailed

and an empty tomb where He was risen

Realizing exactly what we now know of love

and still also have yet to grasp.”

Remember: there’s no right or wrong way. Write from your heart, keep it short and punchy and convey your story with the most powerful words possible!

Can’t wait to see what you’ve got this week.

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7 responses to “Everyday Creators: If You Don’t Think You’re a Poet

  1. Beautiful. We have lost two babies and I know the suffering and the broken beauty that is found when you let those Arms carry you through the sad. Thank you for your words of guidance in “everyday poetry”, they are wise and helpful.

    • Thank you so very much. I’m so very sorry to hear about the loss of your two precious ones. These losses are ones that sting so much. I pray the same peace for your heart.

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