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Learning to understand and write poetry - from the start.

If you haven't followed me before I am on a mission to understand poetry better. Although I have always been capable of writing quirky rhymes, mainly for entertaining and teaching things to my kids, I know there is a world of poetry beyond that which feels out of reach to me. I want to step out of my comfort zone and venture out into this daunting world of poetry.


Now I'm not talking about wanting to write morose, self indulgent poetic whining, I just want to learn to have the confidence to write poetry without feeling like an outsider or an imposter. I think to do this I need to learn 'the rules' first, before then feeling confident to break them. This will involve understanding things like form, metre and feet, and no doubt a whole load of other stuff that I haven't even thought of yet.


I have to admit that I own a ridiculous amount of poetry books, that have predominantly remained unread. I have an uncontrollable urge to buy poetry books when I'm in a bookstore, probably because I think that simply by owning these books I will, by proxy, become a profound and insightful poet, or at the very least start to understand what other poets are saying.


I can't lie though. I sit down, full of good intentions, to read the work of poets like Seamus Heaney or Mary Oliver but five minutes in and I'm frustrated and irritated and feeling stupid all over again. It seems there is an elusive secret to understanding poetry that I haven't been told and everybody else knows.


I'm going to change that though. I'm on a mission to understand poetry and then learn to write it.


My first forays into understanding this have been through starting several books on the subject. I've done some research into this, as I don't want to waste my time or lose my motivation with anything too dry or intellectual, and so the books I have chosen to start with are:






I'm working through all of them at the same time as I'm interested in their different approaches to the very basics of poetry, and I'm hoping that these books will progress through similar stages at more or less the same time. I'm finding this really enlightening so far. All the books approach the subject in very different ways but their common thread is their absolute love and unbridled joy of poetry and how it can enrich your life. This is the key to what I am looking for. I want to share in that enjoyment and pleasure.

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