Why Poetry?

Why Poetry?



Recently, I was interviewed about my creative habits and inspiration on the Why Poems? Podcast. If you have not heard about this podcast yet, please check it out. Why Poems, which was created by poet and educator, Cole Bellamy, centers around why poets write poetry. In each new episode, Cole asks featured writers why they are motivated to live a life with poetry.

I once had a poetry professor who began the semester by saying something along the lines of: “If you can choose to do anything else, do it. Poetry is neither logical or financially smart.” As, a bright-eyed new poet, I laughed nervously (along with the rest of the class) and thought “c’mon, poetry makes all the sense in the world!” Years, later I’ve taken his words to heart. Why poetry? Why writing for that matter? As a writer, I’ve always juggled multiple jobs, been underpaid, and all too often written for free. There are truly better financial ways to make a living but I’ve always been drawn to writing, and poetry in particular, because they are a central part of my understanding of the world.

So, why poetry? Very plainly and honestly, because it is everything to me and I can’t imagine a life without it. Cole’s interview reminded me of how my writing habit got started at a very early age. When I was nine or ten, I’d wake up at night to jot a few things down. An image that popped into my head, a word, a dream, whatever it was, I remember waking up with the extreme urgency to write something down. I didn’t have a pen or notebook one night so, in my half-awake state, I grabbed a sharpie that was on my nightstand and started writing directly on the nightstand. To my surprise and relief, my parents never got upset by this, instead, they allowed me to fill that nightstand up with words and ideas and they bought me stacks of composition notebooks. To this day, my mom knows that my favorite gift to receive is always (and will forever be) a journal.

Writing on that nightstand is to this day, one of my most visceral childhood memories. I am forever grateful to my parents for supporting my urge to write. I do not know where this impetus came from and there may never be a rhyme or reason to why I’ve chosen to write poetry but I do know that it’s been one of my oldest and most consistent companions.

I had so much fun speaking with Cole about creativity and inspiration. Listen to my interview on the Why Poems? Podcast here.


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