Browsing Tag


Writing as a Path to Awakening

No matter how many years you devote to the craft of writing, one question will always still haunt you. This one question pops up when you’re in the middle of writing a scene, and also when you’re lying in bed at night wrestling with self doubt. You might think you have the answer, or a whole set of answers, to this one question, but it always comes back around again. The question is… Continue Reading

Why Poetry Matters

Rose Is a Rose

Today’s guest post is from Fred Johnson, who is an editor for Standout Books, where he helps authors take their manuscripts from good to perfect. He’s had poetry published in Zetetic, Spark: A Creative Anthology, The Incubator, Iota, Belleville Park Pages, Smoke, and  Spring 14. His personal blog can be found here and he can be found on Twitter as @FredBobJohn. You can also find out more at the Standout Books Blog.

Poetry is big and confusing and I don’t get it. As a form, it’s remarkably fluid—just when I think I’ve grasped what it is and how it works, I’ll discover some poet who throws the whole thing on its head. Whereas contemporary formalists like Glyn Maxwell argue that poetry without strict form is like a table without legs, the bleeding edge throw words all over the page, dismissing grammar, form, spelling, and linear sequence. How do I know where to stand? It’s all too much to keep up with. Continue Reading

The New Generation of Poets

SAMSUNGLately, I’ve been reading a LOT of poetry. I recently discovered that I can search for specific topics on my WordPress Reader and so I’ve been gorging on poetry every day. Back when I was studying for my English degree in the late 90s, the general idea was that modern day poets didn’t have much of a future. People told me there was “no money in poetry” and “not enough space” for all the aspiring poets out there.

At that time, I don’t think anyone counted on how drastically the internet would change the world.

The last decade has changed everything about the way we see books and authors, the way we think about publishing and having a writing career. It’s been kind of scary at times, with many writers questioning if novels and poetry will even have a place at all in our digital future. But what the internet has really done is expand the amount of space for creative effort to stretch and flex itself. It’s removed the limits that we previously took for granted, so much so that they seemed like a law of the universe.

We now live in a world where you can write a poem and instantly share it with billions of other people across the globe. No one has to approve it for you. No one has to distribute it for you. You get to be in charge of your creative life. For the first time in history, the poets have no more need of the gatekeepers.

How brilliant is that?

I’ve always felt that it’s an incredibly life-affirming act to write poetry. Although a lot of the time we come to writing poetry as a way to express the intense emotions of sorrow and loss, rejection or anger, what is born out of our creative effort is this beautiful life energy wrapped up in just a few words. And because the form of a poem manifests primarily in symbolic language and imagery, it’s like a straight-shot arrow of emotion that hits us squarely in the heart.

Whenever you fall into the cynical mindset of “not enough” or “no one cares”, jump on Google and search for poetry blogs. People are posting new poems every minute. It’s like sitting at the edge of a field and watching dozens of different flowers bloom right in front of your eyes. The poets out there haven’t given up on the writing industry, or on planet earth. They are saying YES to life every second, with every new poem they write and share with the world.

Instead of there being no future and no place for modern day poets, the exact opposite is true. Today’s poets have created their own space in our online landscape, and by sharing their poetry within our virtual world, they help to teach all of us how to pause and receive beauty. They show us how to truly live in the present moment.

If you are a poet, or even someone who thinks they only “dabble” in poetry, consider these ideas deeply. Your time has come. You have a valuable, essential role in this world. I can tell you, just from my personal perspective, that the poems I’ve come across while browsing blogs have a significant impact on my day. They lift my mood. They recharge my spiritual batteries. Your poems make a difference in my life.

Thank you.

And keep writing.