If we want poetry to be recognized as a valuable art, we need to be more active in sharing our creativity with others. National Poetry Month, April, is always an especially productive month for me in getting the word out about poetry and sharing my passion for it with others.
Those of you who’ve followed my blog know that I write haiku, have authored, Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All, and am Second Vice President of the Haiku Society of America. But I write other forms of poetry, too, and am a published writer of many genres.
When I gave a presentation during April at the North Carolina Haiku Society’s annual conference, I stressed that in order to really understand haiku, it’s helpful to not only write other forms of poetry, but to write in other genres, too. My presentation was “Finding Your Distinctive Voice in Haiku,” and I told haikuists that it’s easier to define your distinctive voice in haiku if you write other forms.
As a writer of many genres, you will find patterns in not only the themes you write about, but in your writing style, such as diction, literary devices, tone, mood, rhythm, pace, sound/music, imagery, syntax, etc.
Your personality and character will always come through in your writing, and you should let all your voices speak, even the conflicting ones. You can be both a sage and a fool, for example.
Poets Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, and e.e. cummings all had distinctive voices that are widely recognizable.
During April, I also gave presentations at libraries and at THENEWSTUDIO (spelled just like that) in Evanston, IL. I was privileged to get my message out about poetry through two newspaper articles, one a interview feature story about me in the Chicago Tribune’s Lake County chain of weeklies, and in The News & Observer in Raleigh, NC.
In other April poetry events, I was a winner of a Midwest competition, to have my haiku inscribed on a metal plaque to be placed on a rock in Millersburg, Ohio at The Inn at Honey Run. About twenty poets were winners. The poems will be featured along “The Haiku Path: My winning haiku is:
deep in the old growth
a downy woodpecker drums
to the warbler’s trill
In other news, Carlos Colon of Louisiana read my senryu ( a humorous haiku) at a poetry reading of the Trapped Truth Society in Shreveport:
leaving the bank
with six figures
on the odometer
One of my poems,”My Childhood Home,” written in the etheree form was displayed on The Rockford Writers’ Guild Facebook page as an instructional tool for etherees. The form consists of ten lines of unmetered and unrhymed verse. The first line has one syllable, each succeeding line adding a syllable, with a total syllable count of fifty-five. An etheree focuses on one idea or subject.
of baked apples.
I sell my white nest
amid scarlet maples,
toothy pumpkins line the steps.
Childhood memories dissipate
in the deepening gray chill of dusk.
A green-faced witch grins on the weathered gate.
Also in April, my haiku was displayed among other poets’ work, at the Highland Park Public Library in Highland Park, IL, a joint exhibit of Highland Park Poetry and the Illinois State Poetry Society:
dusk . . .
on the express train
(During the last week of March, my haiku was displayed in conjunction with an art exhibit by Illinois Artist Lidia Rozmus at The Polish Museum of America in Chicago.) It was:
wooded hills . . .
the evening downpour
fogs distant city lights
I always notify alumni associations of my doings, and my activities are always posted in their newsletters, often resulting in profile feature articles about me. The University of Chicago’s Chicago Women’s Alliance, its Alumni Club of Chicago, its Alumni Club of North Carolina, and its Arts Alumni Network Newsletter ran news pertaining to my National Poetry Month activities.
Whenever a poet does outreach, it not only helps the poet market her books and get invited to speak at more places, but it helps us all elevate the visibility of poetry among the public.
So bottom line is, don’t be a poetry recluse. You can live and breath poetry, but also spread the joy around for everyone’s benefit!
Copyright 2015 by Charlotte Digregorio.