I had very few poetical influences growing up. My mother wrote little ditties inside birthday cards and that was about it. I remember being made to write poems in English class at high school, but I honestly don't remember studying and/or reading poetry to any extent. Certainly none of it stayed with me. Despite this, I wrote poetry all through my teenage years. Was it great? Of course not!
I have learned a lot about poetry since I joined Writing.com, and it's true that the more poems I read, the better my own poetry gets. But there was one step I hadn't yet taken. No, wait, make that two steps that I hadn't yet taken.
I didn't read poetry outside of Writing.com. And I didn't read poems aloud nor listen to others read them aloud.
After some consultation with my friend Kylie, who is my resident expert on all things poetry, we both went away and tried to come up with fun ways to bridge these gaps in my knowledge. It amuses me that we both came up with completely different activities designed to cover completely different aspects of my poetry education.
I created an activity on Writing.com called 'Poetry Readings' where you can record yourself reading your own poems aloud, and share them with the other members of Writing.com. What's more, you can listen to other WDC poets reading their poetry aloud. It is proving to be quite fascinating, and very insightful. I had some trouble imagining how Kylie's free verse poems, particularly the ones with creative use of line breaks and spaces, would sound, but now I know. Now I have a better understanding of how her poems will sound when I read a new one. And she was surprised by some of the Maori words I used in my poetry, which sounded nothing like she had imagined. There are multiple poets already participating.
Kylie created a blogging challenge on Writing.com called 'Pursue the Horizon' which is about sharing the poetical works of non-WDC poets. Professional, published poets. Each day (or as often or little as each member chooses), we are sharing a poem by a non-WDC poet and explaining why we chose that poem, what we like about it and any other information pertinent to it. The first day (March 1) saw a wide range of poems, from those written from the perspective of soldiers and prisoners, to children's poetry, to love poems and more. And that was just day one! I, for one, am finding it fascinating as well as educational.