Ten Years of Poetry #NationalPoetryDay

Today is National Poetry Day in England, with the theme of Light. I may not be in England, but the spirit of poetry is one that transcends distance. Thus, I thought what better time than now to reflect on the ten years I have spent writing?

I have loved writing since I learned how to form letters, and I have loved poetry since I learned that sentences could be split to form poems; however, I didn’t start writing poetry as a hobby until the age of 14, to cope with the move from Massachusetts to Florida. I wrote about how Massachusetts oozed poetic, and how Florida was a boring tourist trap (even though I have always been crazy about the theme parks!). I wrote poems depicting my deep, symbolic hatred of palm trees, and why the oak tree was a much more dignified tree. I wrote about how much I missed ballet. I wrote how utterly alone I was, and how no one understood me.

This outlet of teenage angst morphed into a practice that I turned to in times of need. I wrote poems about everything – friends, weather, boyfriends, breakups – and copied them into my journals or my MySpace blog. In high school, I often finished my test before some of my classmates, but since it was high school, I had to sit anyway – I took this time to write poems. As a Catholic, I once challenged myself to write religious poetry for Lent. I think I may have gotten the reputation for being the weird girl who wrote angsty poetry, but I didn’t care. I kept writing.

At first, I modeled my poetry after Emily Dickinson. My freshman and sophomore years of high school were spent writing poems in abab format. I was in a long distance relationship and wrote about love and distance. I played Kingdom Hearts and wrote about kingdoms and hearts and the possibility of other worlds. During junior year, I threw rules out the window and wrote in free verse. During my senior year, I wrote about change and hope for the future. I wrote a poem to Obama during his first inauguration (though I never sent it to him). I challenged myself to write an epic poem about a vampyre and I worked on that project for two years. I wrote a collection of poems for my Creative Writing class.

I made mistakes along the way. I submitted to Poetry.com, the infamous site that publishes anyone in a money scheme – no surprise, I was accepted. By the time the “published” poetry anthology landed on my doorstep, I had realized how foolish I had been. I wrote bad poetry. I wrote angsty poetry. I wrote egotistical poetry. Some said I wrote “emo” poetry, but I didn’t care. I kept writing.

Then, something started happening. I got better at writing essays and class papers. My writing scores climbed higher than the other categories in the ACT and SAT. I found outlining and writing projects easy. School became easier for me because of my poetry. A poem of mine even got published in A Celebration of Young Poets: Florida Spring 2007.

Though I entered college as a Psychology major, I switched to the English major my sophomore year. During this time, I wrote less poetry, mainly because I was experimenting with other forms in my classes – short stories, then plays. I wrote a collection of poems for my Independent Writing class. I got published in the university literary magazine and I read my poetry at the university’s open mic nights. I made mistakes in my program, too – I wrote ignorant pieces and I even wrote things I didn’t realize were racist. I learned, and I cared. I kept writing.

I write less poetry now, focusing on novellas and novels. Thus far, I have filled eight journals with poetry. I still keep my earliest poetry, to remind me of where I have been. My first chapbook of poetry, Tableau Vivant, will be published later this year by Dancing Girl Press. Rather than an MFA in Poetry, I would someday like to go for an MFA in Fiction. Until then, I will continue to write both fiction and poetry. I will keep writing.

Poetry was the gateway drug and I have been addicted to writing ever since. When I hold a pen, I feel as if I hold an extension of myself. Poetry got me through the tumultuous times of teenagerdom, and I have an inkling that it will help me for the rest of my life. I will keep writing.

Happy National Poetry Day.


2 thoughts on “Ten Years of Poetry #NationalPoetryDay

  1. Great write-up for National Poetry Day. I got scammed too by Poetry.com. They live off the young eager writer’s dream of seeing their work published. Yeah, it’s really something to see how you wrote when you started writing to now and how your voice develops. I can’t wait to buy your chapbook of poetry. Congrats on publication. That’s awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I just went on that site and apparently they’ve changed, but I will always remember the scam it used to be. Thank you! I’m excited, it should be out soon, I’ll post updates on my blog!


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