Poetry essay: Poetry around you

People can encounter poetry without realizing it.  Poetry appears in many places in life besides places where it is specifically defined as poetry (like on a blog like this one or in a poetry book like First Try).

One obvious example is greeting cards.  Anytime you read a greeting card with a beat or a rhyme, you are reading a poem.

Songs are also poetry.  There are a number of songs, where if you wrote them out, and read them line by line without the beat or rhythm, they would sound like poems.

Poems also appear in advertising.  Think of advertising jingles or any advertisement with a rhyme.

Some jokes are poems.  Sometimes a beat, rhyme or pun gives a joke a poetic quality (although not a serious one).

Literary prose can also have poetic qualities at times.  If you take certain sections of certain literary prose, and write them with line breaks, the words can sound like poems.

Children’s books are sometimes written as poems.  There are a number of children’s stories that rhyme, and there are some that have beat and meter.

Protest chants are sometimes poems.  Some of them you hear will have a beat and or a rhyme.

Religious writing often can contain poems.  Sometimes the writing is labeled as such, but in other instances it might not be.

If you listen and read closely, you can actually hear and see poetry around you in places where you might not realize it is.


Experimental Poetry Form: C

This experimental poetry form is called C.  It is based on layout on the page and syllable count.

The form has three lines, two that are horizontal and one that is vertical.  These lines make the C shape.  Each line has ten syllables.  The letters at the corners work for both lines they are in.

Below is what the form looks like with *’s representing the syllables.  The corner letters are marked with ^’s.


Here is an example poem using the form:

Have you ever seen a kangaroo hop?






of course, it may wonder just how you walk.

A photograph to inspire poetry: plants with yellow and orange flowers

plants with yellow and orange flowers

Above is a photograph of plants with yellow and orange flowers.  It can inspire poetry.  Some ideas include poems about:

  • The sun. The flowers look like the sun with a central part with yellow radiating out.  A poet could write poetry about the sun.  They might write science fiction poetry about multiple suns.

  • These flowers look happy.  They are bright and open.  A poet could write poetry related to bright, open happiness.

  • The flowers are in a group.  A poet could write about a group of people and relate them to the flowers.


Here is a poem inspired by the photograph:

There is one sun,
but really two.

In the north,
the summer ends,
and fall is near.

In the south,
the winter ends,
and spring is near.

Up in the sky,
there is but one,
but upon the earth,
two circle above.

Though time is the same,
as the two suns circle,
time goes,
in opposite paths.

Poetry essay: reading poetry aloud

Poetry can be read in two general ways.  It can be read silently in a person’s mind, or it can be read aloud.  This essay focuses on reading poetry aloud.  When a poem is read aloud it can have an impact on the poem.

When reading poetry aloud, there are four general situations.  They vary by who wrote the poem and who the poem is being read to.  They are:

  • A person can read a poem they wrote aloud to themselves.

  • A person can read a poem they wrote aloud to someone else.

  • A person can read a poem someone else wrote aloud to themselves.

  • A person can read a poem someone else wrote aloud to someone else.

A person reads a poem they wrote aloud to themselves

In the first situation, a person reads a poem they wrote aloud to themselves.  This might be as they are writing the poem, or sometime after it is finished.

If a person reads a poem they wrote aloud to themselves, while they write it, it can have an effect on what they write.

First, reading a poem aloud, allows the person to actually hear the words.  This can have a different effect than when the person reads the words in their mind.  It can make things sound differently.

Second, it can be a good way to find errors in a poem.  It can be another check of the poem.

Third, it can alert the poet to form elements they need to include.  For example, if when a poet reads a poem aloud, they feel like they should pause at a certain point, but that effect is not built into the poem through either a line break or an indention, they can add that.  It can help make the poem more how the poet meant.

If a person reads a poem they wrote aloud to themselves sometime after they wrote it, it can be a good way to test the effectiveness of the poem.  Again, a poem can sound different when it is read aloud versus in the mind, and reading a poem aloud after time has passed can give a person a better sense of how the poem really works.  It can be a good way to see if a poem has the effect the person wants.

A person can read a poem they wrote aloud to someone else

This situation can occur in different ways.  A person might read a poem they wrote to an individual, for example to ask the person what it sounds like.  They could also read a poem to a group of people, for example as part of a poetry event.

When a person reads a poem they wrote aloud, they can utilize inflection and tone of voice.  They can read the poem how they meant it to be read.  This can be a benefit but also something negative.

The benefit of a person reading a poem how they meant it to be read, is that the person gets their message across.  They can express the poem exactly how it was meant.  This can be a good thing if the person is reading a poem simply to have people hear it.

Alternatively though, if the person is reading the poem to someone else, with the intention of having the other person give their opinion of the poem, this can hurt that effort.

Because the person is changing the poem with the way they read it, the poem will sound different than if another person had just read the poem to themselves.  If the person who wrote the poem were to base the level of effectiveness of the poem on how a person responded to their reading, they might get an effectiveness level that is different than it would have been had the other person simply read the poem to themselves.  When a person reads a poem they didn’t write to themselves, they don’t get the writer’s tone of voice and inflection built in.  This is important for a writer to realize and they should make sure they build those elements in as best they can so a poem can sound the way they wanted, even if they aren’t reading it.

A person can read a poem someone else wrote aloud to themselves

When a person reads a poem someone else wrote aloud, it can change how the poem sounds.  It, in some way, takes more effort and focus to read a poem aloud than to read it just in the mind.  This can change how a poem sounds.

This can be an interesting exercise for someone who reads poetry.  They could try different things, such as reading some poems in their mind and others aloud, or reading the same poem first one way, and then another.  They could see how it changes their perception of the poem.

A person can read a poem someone else wrote aloud to someone else

When a person reads a poem someone else wrote aloud to someone else, they add something to the poem.  They add their tone of voice and inflection.  They change the poem by how they read it.

This can be a good thing in that it adds more interest to poetry.  If a person hears the same poem read by different people, they will hear it in different ways.

It can also be good for learning about the reader.  A listener can tell something about a person by how they read a poem.  Did they read a part seriously or sarcastically?  Did they read a part with a normal tone, or a somber or excited one?  A reader can learn about a person by how they interpret something.

Alternatively, this can be a bad thing.  Because the reader adds to the poem, it can distort the poem for the listener.  The listener will hear a version of the poem that is different than had they read it themselves.  This alters the listener’s perception and can make it difficult for them to read the poem again with a clean view.

Poetry essay: Current events poetry

One type of poetry is poetry based off of current events.  This could be poetry about political issues, social issues, natural disasters, war, protests, or something local to a community.  There are a number of things to look at when considering this type of poetry.

Is the writer impacted?

Sometimes a current event will directly impact someone.  For example, think of a tornado that destroyed a town.  A person who writes a poem about it, might have actually been there.

In other instances, a person might write about a current event that does not directly impact them.  For example, a person might be writing about a law that passes in some city where they don’t live.

Sometimes you read poetry where the writer fits into one or the other of the categories above, and sometimes you write poetry where you fit into one or the other of the categories above.  In both situations, both places are equal, but different.

As a reader of poetry, when you a read a poem about a current event where the writer was directly impacted by the event, you get a closer and more personal perspective.  The person can write about details and emotions in a real way.

Alternatively, when you read a poem where someone writes about an event that they are not impacted by, you gain the benefit of an outside perspective.  The person can see the event in a broader way and see how it relates to the big picture.  Because of their separation from the event, they see it differently.

These same ideas apply when you write poetry about current events.

How much time has passed since the poem was written?

This may sound like a strange thing to look at, as current events, by definition, are happening now.  That being said, past events were current events when they happened.  Assuming a poet wrote a poem about a current event when the event happened, how much time has passed since the writing of the poem can influence how it is read.

As time passes, new events happen and perspectives change.  The way a poem was read when an event occurred can be very different from how it is read years later.  This is something important to consider as you read and write current events poetry.

If you are reading something that has just been written, about an event currently happening, you might take note how you perceive it.  You might think about how that perception might change as time goes on.  You might write what you think of the poem and make a note to read the poem months or even years later, to see how your perspective changes.

If you are reading a poem about a past event, for example a poem about something that occurred decades ago, you might think about how you perceive the poem and how that might be different from how people at the time it was written perceived it.  If possible, it would be interesting to read commentaries on the poem that were written at the time it was written to get further insight into how perceptions may have changed.

If you are writing a poem about a current event, it is important to know that your perception of the event may change with time.  How you felt when the event happened might be very different from how you look back on the event years later.  This might be something you take into account if you are writing current events poetry, and it is something to think about if you read a current events poem you wrote after some time has passed.

What about the idea of controversy?

Although some current events have universal feelings about them (everyone will agree that a natural disaster was a tragedy) there can be differences of opinion surrounding them (people might argue about how the disaster should be addressed).

Other events are more inherently controversial.  Think about a change in any large political or social issue.  Many people will be split on how they perceive the event.  What one person sees as a good change, another will see as bad.  This is something to keep in mind when reading and writing current events poetry.

If you are reading current events poetry, you should understand that other people will read the poem differently than you.  A poem whose message you completely agree with, might be one that another person completely disagrees with.

The same idea applies when writing poetry.  If you write and share current events poetry, you should keep in mind that there might be many people who disagree with how you perceive the event (there might also be many who agree).  This doesn’t mean you don’t write or share the poetry, but it is something you should keep in mind, especially if you discuss the poems you wrote.

The idea of immediacy

An interesting thing about current events and current events poetry, is the immediacy of them.  A poet can write about something as it happens.  A reader can read about something as it happens.  This idea of immediacy can impact the poetry.

Although this relates to the idea of time passing discussed above, it is different in that the focus is on the now.  How does a poet write about something as it happens?  How does a reader perceive a poem about something that is happening?  This is something important to think about as current events poetry is written and read.

If you are writing current events poetry you should keep in mind the immediacy of what is happening.  The idea that you are writing about the present should be in your mind and impact what you write.

If you are reading current events poetry soon after it is written, you should keep your temporal closeness to the event in mind.  You should understand that it has an effect on your perception of the poem.

Poem with an explanation: the traveler sees

the color changes
as the bridge repairs itself
the traveler sees


This poem is a 5-7-5 haiku.

This poem is about physical healing.  It is about a person healing from a small burn.

In the poem, a person has burned their hand.  It has changed colored and is dark purple and almost black.

As times goes (when the poem starts), the person starts to heal.  The color changes and the person’s skin repairs itself.  The person notices this and takes note of it each day.

The idea of the poem is to look at a passive experience.  The traveler in the poem (the person who burned themselves), watches as something happens to themselves.  Their body is doing something, and they are an onlooker to it.  This is an unusual idea to think about.  The person’s body is doing something, but they are not consciously involved.

This idea could be applied to a variety of both good and bad situations.  A good situation might be an athlete who does something amazing without thought.  A bad situation might be a person being affected by a disease.  In both cases, the person’s body is experiencing something apart from their consciousness.

Artwork to inspire poetry: mussels, shrimp, and crayfish

mussels, shrimp, and crayfish

The above artwork is of a cropped photograph of food.  It is of a cooked dish of mussels, shrimp, and crayfish.  It also has tomatoes and colored bell peppers.  It is seasoned with lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, red pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, celery seed, and paprika.

This artwork can inspire poetry.  Here is poem inspired by it:

all mixed together,
tasty shellfish,
it was so good

Poetry topic idea: rings

Today’s poetry topic idea is rings.

There are different ways to use the word rings.

Rings could refer to jewelry.  An example would be wedding rings.

Rings could also refer to places of competition, like a boxing or a wrestling ring.

Rings can also be a verb regarding sound.  For example, in the sentence, “He rings a bell.”

Rings can also be a verb meaning to encircle.  For example, a person could draw rings around objects.

A poet could incorporate these different ideas into poetry.

Here is an example poem using rings:

the phone rings,
and with the bad news,
sadness rings the listener