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Friday, March 26, 2021

Let's Talk Poetry

April begins National Poetry Month – the perfect time to discuss questions we might have about poetry reading and/or writing. 

Consider these questions, for example, then respond in the Comments section below:


  • What do I hope to gain from the poems I read?
  • What do I most want my poems to give to my readers?
  • Why does poetry even matter to me?
  • Do formal poems or conversational ones appeal to me the most?
  • Which poetry technique do I like best: fresh comparisons, musicality, exquisitely expressed phrases, unexpected insights, or _______?
  • What types or forms of poetry do I especially like?


If you want to expand your poetry-writing options, A Poet’s Guide to Writing Poetry: in Free Verse and Traditional Forms will surely help!


National Poetry Month also brings a good time talk about our concerns as poets. For example:


  • How do I find poetry publishing markets?
  • Is it a good idea to self-publish a poetry book?
  • How do I know for sure if I’m even a poet?


If you scroll through the posts on this blog or type a key word into the Search box, you might find previous discussions that relate to where you are now. Regardless, post your responses to the above questions and/or other poetry questions you’d like to ask in the Comments box below. And have a happy NaPoMo! 


©2021, Mary Harwell Sayler, poet, A Gathering of Poems



  1. I write poetry for the joy of it. Even a sorrowful or an angry poem should have the peculiar joy of expressing the sorrow or anger in a deeper way.

    I'd like my readers to say, "Yes, wow, that's it exactly - " and sometimes to add, "I never quite saw it that way, before." I'm most satisfied to publish a poem which a reader wants to read aloud to someone else. Rudyard Kipling and Edward Lear excelled at that, and in my daydreams that's what I'm doing.

    I'd say I'm a whimsical traditionalist. I don't do much blank or free verse and am not particularly proud of results when I try; I do, however, play with conventions.

    I believe light verse is essential for the health of poetry as a whole in a society (and ours is in sad shape that way, at present). If you want to have great professional baseball, you should have lots of kids playing sandlot ball and middle-aged men playing church-league softball; for an art to thrive it must be participatory. Light verse makes people laugh and inspires them to imitate!

    The greatest poet writing in English right now is Anthony Esolen, IMHO. I read his work with awe. I think I might be better than him, though, in just ONE small way: a Joe Long poem might make a reader say, "Hey, that's funny, bet I could do a better one" and then try to!

    1. Thanks for responding. Your second paragraph reminded me of one of the most encouraging things anyone ever said to me: i.e., "I like how you see." Glad you've discovered that joy.

      Have you read Billy Collins? His poems have brilliant levity. I'd not heard of Anthony Esolen, so I just looked him up online and agree with much of what he wrote in "The Young Poet and the Inauguration," but I would not want to get on his bad side!

      Thanks again for commenting. God bless your poetry-writing life.