Remaining a Student of Poetry Post-Graduation

I graduated from college 2.5 years ago with my Bachelor’s in Creative Writing. Although reading and writing poetry are two of my biggest passions in the world, I found that I didn’t write much poetry once the diploma arrived. Sure, I’d write odd poems here and there, and I continued reading and writing about a lot of poetry collections… but I wasn’t engaging in any sort of a disciplined poetry writing routine. In short, I wanted to create poems, but I wasn’t doing the work it required.

This past New Year’s, I decided to make a resolution to practice poetry every single day. It’s been nearly 5 months and I’m still fulfilling that resolution, and filling up my Moleskine in the process.

Let me be clear: Practicing poetry every day isn’t the same as writing poetry every day. I purposely gave myself a lot of creative freedom when I made the resolution. This means that I can engage with poetry each day in whichever way makes sense to me–sometimes I practice writing a villanelle, while other days I practice scanning classic poems, take notes on poetic jargon, or simply do a 5 minute free-write to spurn some creativity.

After nearly 5 months of daily poetry exercises, here’s what I’ve noticed:

  • I’ve cultivated an important ritual. Each day, I sit down with my pen and notebook and take the time to engage in something that brings me fulfillment.
  • My creative juices are flowing again. When you allow yourself to focus on poetry every day, you begin to look at the world through a different lens. You find poetry everywhere, and it’s a beautiful, powerful thing.
  • I’ve also noticed that I need more structure if I truly want to grow as a writer. The daily practices have had huge benefit, but I won’t grow if I don’t consistently challenge myself by writing difficult poems and revising thoroughly.

This has been a worthwhile first step for me, but I’m looking forward to engaging more thoroughly with poetry. For me, this means creating a ‘curriculum’ of writing exercises, literary events, required reading, and writers groups to engage in.

Here’s to many poetry-filled months (and years!) to come.


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