Lesson 1: How Do I Become A Poet?
My fellow poetry enthusiasts,
Must a poet run the gauntlet of each and every rule, and be gifted or elite in order to get poetry? Do you worry about having poems taken seriously?
Every endeavor has some self-appointed gatekeepers. It is your job to value yourself and your work first. Nobody knows your story or your motivation as well as you. Nobody knows what will take them by surprise and elicit an emotional response. Art doesn’t fit in a one-size mold.
I know it takes some gumption to fight the lie of scarcity and the barrier of inaccessibility, and maintain the belief that poetry is for everyone. Still, this is the stand you must take: to appreciate your work in whatever stage or phase you are in, whether beginner or expert or anything in between. I believe in you.
Poetry is for anyone. It is something you get to choose into. There are so many rules now and ideas are being made into formulas and systems. These have their place, and can teach us many things, but sometimes it's wiser to begin by seeing them as permission to play with words in a new way, rather than to keep us contained.
If you wish to write poems, and you do write poems, then you have the right to call yourself a poet. I encourage you not to allow anyone else to reinforce a narrative of exclusion. You are the author of your life, and the one in charge of the titles you carry. If you wear the title for a while and it doesn't suit you, the option is there to put it back down. But as long as you carry the desire, you have the right to name yourself Poet.
Poetry is a language of creativity. It spells out freedom to express our true selves. The essence of poetry is timeless, and existed before any rules or forms. It exists still for those who seek to communicate in the language of images, rhythm, and wonder. That cannot be confined to a textbook, a course, a committee, or be kept under lock and key. It is free and abundant as oxygen.
Add passion and a seeker's heart and you have found the spirit of a poem. Ponder that thought! It's yours to treasure.
So, what are we doing here? We are jumping wholeheartedly into this poetry-tasting experience. Let's have fun with that!