Monday, November 16, 2009

Explore Different Poets with Collections

As I have said before, I am not an expert at writing. I write (this blog and other outlets) for the release of creative tension I feel when (I allow) other things to get in the way, or when I make that tried-and-true excuse of "I don't have time." It is exercising my mind in a meaningful (for me) way...much as someone would go to the gym to workout around others, as opposed to in their home. Further, when a person goes to the gym they tend to pick up new techniques or exercises by watching the more experienced at work.

Well, I am that person in the analogy. I write to workout my thoughts into forms that others will find interesting/uplifting/whatever emotion I set out to achieve. Like that person, I also watch others working out as much as possible, which means I read other works of poetry. I always find the best way to improve your writing is to read others' works. I know, that's advice that's been given time over, but it's just about the best out there. To "watch" poets at work, you only need to pick up a collection of poems. Collections of poetry allow a reader to hit a wide variety of authors, often within the same vein of styles. I know, that may sound contradictory, but pick one up and you'll see what I mean.

If you don't know much about collections, then reading one will offer you a look at writers who may not be familiar with, as opposed to the tried-and-true authors we have known from school. The format of collections is usually based on theme: example, what have you lost? is a collection selected by Naomi Shihab Nye that explores loss in various formats (loss of a loved one, of childhood, of freedom, of clarity, etc). In this collection, you will be able to read the works of writers whose voices are seldom heard (maybe some for good reason, others for not). And that, to me, is the best aspect of collections: being able to explore fringe authors in a genre. The under-represented, to me, usually have a tone the speaks to their hearts, not to the planning of a publisher looking for high volume sales. But that's the cynic in me...

So go out to your bookstore, grab one off the shelf, and start reading...or do so online. Happy reading!

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