This April marks the eighteenth annual National Poetry Month. I look forward to NPM every year. It’s a time for us to remember the impact poetry has on our lives, to revisit the classic poets, and to discover new voices in poetry. I also feel that National Poetry Month is a time to remind ourselves to be inspired, which is something I found myself doing recently.
When I was in high school I wrote poetry regularly. In addition to my “regular” journal, in which I recorded my day-to-day thoughts, I kept a poetry journal where I composed and edited original verse. Whenever possible, I would carry that poetry journal around with me just in case inspiration struck while I was out and about. I continued this practice in college, where I also had the opportunity to take classes in verse writing.
I would write poetry about anything that inspired me at that particular moment: a flower, a painting, a drop of water, my dirty car, a box of forgotten, old doll clothes. Whenever I came across something that moved me enough to write a poem, I would pull out my poetry journal, and the words would flow from my mind to the paper. I would later go back and rewrite certain verses, crossing out elements that didn’t work and adding in ones that did. The process was time-consuming and creatively exhilarating. Poetry was my chosen vehicle for expressing myself, and I loved it.
Yet something changed once I graduated college. I stopped setting aside time to write poetry. Every now and again I would write a poem or two, but with nowhere near the same regularity I once followed. I can’t pinpoint a concrete reason why I let this happen. I just became so preoccupied with things like graduate school, work, and life in general. I would still have moments of inspiration, but rather than whipping out my poetry journal, which I had given up carrying around, I would make a mental note to write it down later. Inevitably, “later” would never come, and that inspiration would be lost.
Read the rest of Sarah Geisler’s, YARN’s Poetry Reader and Assistant, journey here.
And let us know, how do you stay inspired?