Sunday, September 18, 2016

Why Write Poetry?

I wrote this piece and posted on this blog somewhere in 2005. Somehow, I think it is still relevant today as it was then.

Yes, you can say this post is partly inspired by Rosemary Nissen-Wades's excellent article at Poet's United.

photo by dsnake1

Why Write Poetry?

Why write poetry? Poetry don't sell, nobody reads them. Don't bet on that, but that's not the point. People write poetry because they love to. Just like you love a beer.

An author, I think it was Stephen King, once said that you are like an opened carton of milk in the fridge. You take on whatever flavour is beside you. But like he said, an author shouldn't just be that carton of milk. Yes, you absorb the flavours, it gives you different tastes, but you have to try to find your own voice.

My nephew once asked me about the secret of good writing. I told him there's really no secret. He looked surprised when I told him to read. And write. Lots of it. True, the two go hand in hand. It's like a guy wanting to win a marathon but having no time to do practice runs.

So go read anything you can lay your hands on, your thick reference books, the great SF masters, the Nobel laureates, pulp fiction, manga, your child's bedtime story books, the papers. And then go write some poetry. In your journals, sketchbooks, Moleskines, A4 papers, your blogs. And it will become your lifelong companion and friend.

I write poetry simply because I love to.

written 02/10/2005
revised 18/09/2016

"Those who read poetry do so for pleasure, for insight, sometimes for counsel. The least they can expect is that the poet who shares his visions and experiences with them do so with no hypocrisy. To compromise poetry through fear is to atrophy the psyche. To compromise poetry through expediency is the soft, small murder of the soul..."

--Lenore Kendel (1932 - 2009), "poetry is never compromise",

Shared on Poetry Pantry #320 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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Blogger Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love this. Yes, we write because we love to. And we read for the same reason. A wonderful write! So glad to be reading you!

19 September, 2016 00:03  
Blogger Sanaa Rizvi said...

Whistles!!💖💖 This is so beautiful.. so heartfelt. I agree, there are so many people out there who fail to decipher why we write and love poetry..! We do it not for fame, nor do we write for material gain; but simply because we can no longer hold the words inside. 💖💖

Lots of love,

19 September, 2016 00:19  
Blogger Jae Rose said...

Absolutely - just do it is probably the only advice.. As long as we enjoy it whether or not people read can become irrelevant, I love that you were inspired by Rosemary and the Stephen King quote..Maybe tomorrow the lid will be coming off our milk ;)

19 September, 2016 02:46  
Blogger brudberg said...

I especially love the sentiment of reading and writing... which is actually the main reason for blogging for me... no there is no secrets, there are tools perhaps, but like a carpenter learn to use them we forget and then just write...

19 September, 2016 02:57  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


thank you! you are also one of the inspirations why we write. :)


thank you! a bit of material gain would be a bonus!
i like what you said about "we can no longer hold the words inside".


we are always inspired by other good writers.
as long as the milk's fine, i will drink it :)
and i think the internet enables more people to read our works.


it's interesting to compare writing to a carpenter and his tools. yes, after a while it becomes better & quite instinctive?

19 September, 2016 07:02  
Blogger Mary said...

What better reason to write poetry than to simply love to do it. In the best of times, this is the reason I write to! Thanks for this reminder really......and also for your comment on using real journals (Moleskin, etc) in which to put down words -- rather than just the blogosphere. As so often, you have hit the nail on the head with your words. And, yes, it IS relevant today!!

19 September, 2016 09:31  
Blogger Sumana Roy said...

that's the secret, reading and then i wish there was a haiku at the end of this writing :)

19 September, 2016 12:12  
Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

I love this! So glad to have inspired you to revisit it. :)

19 September, 2016 12:14  
Blogger Truedessa said...

I write because I have this need to express in words life, love and everything in between. I read because it inspires me and opens my mind to other thoughts and perspectives.

19 September, 2016 18:34  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


thank you for the kind words. i guess all of us have a reason for writing poetry but the common thread is perhaps most of us just love to write it.
yes, i am still old school! i like to see the physical word on a piece of paper. :)


yes, that's the secret, reading, then writing. :)
a haiku at the end would be nice, isn't it, but i intend this post as an essay.
maybe i will do another series of haiku from my other blog, like what i did with the "small stones".


it was an excellent write, fun to read and at the same time draws you in to think about it. :)


thank you for your thoughts on this. :)

19 September, 2016 20:45  

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