Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I was recently asked asked where and how I got the inspiration for the poetry I write and I thought I'd post my response here as a blog post since it would also be useful for this blog.
Firstly, I am inspired by the writing of great poets such as Tennyson, Longfellow, Sir Walter Scott, Chesterton, Whitman's Oh Captain, My Captain, Dickinson and others. Also, songs by Wickham, Switchfoot and others have also inspired me. Probably the main reason why I want to write poetry, and why I take the time to sit down and find a theme, a meter, and a rhyme scheme, is because poetry is a beautiful expression of thoughts and nature and whatever else comes to my mind. It's music on paper, music without the form of songs. As several people said,  I could put my poems to song, but then they wouldn't be poems. Skilful poetry, (and I'm not asserting that I'm a skilful writer) can be as beautiful (and I believe is and more so) than song. I don't like free verse that is not alliterated or written with some sort of pattern and rhythm. I don't like it because it's not poetry anymore, it's prose. Poetry takes prose and gives it a beautiful polish and finishing touch. Without the rhyme and the meter, alliteration and rhythm, poetry is just a story. Poetry is not easy. It must be written well to be beautiful and many of the great poets became great because they used rich language and perfect rhythm.

The ideas for my poems come from nature and my reflections on Bible passages. They also come from topics I have been thinking about or discussing. They're also from my stories, books I have been reading and other things. I get my motivation from these ideas, because when I see something beautiful I want to praise it or if I read a Bible passage I want to use poetry to discuss it with fuller meaning or acknowledge the wonders of Christ. The ideas don't just come to me though, I have to look around me and find something I admire or appreciate. (Right before I wrote, 'The Hosts of the Sky are Marching' I was on top of the hill beside our pond watching a storm come in. Things like that I considered so beautiful that I immediately wanted to run inside and write a poem to describe it.) When I think of something I want to put to words in a poem, I think of descriptive words and rich language to express my opinions. Poetry takes time, and nobody can perfect it on the first try. (For instance, I wrote 'Mysterious Depths' four times before I found what I have now.)"

A little bit more detail and answer to the question, "How Important is Rhyme to Poetry?

In my opinion, poetry sounds much better with rhyme. I think that rhyme is incredibly important to poetry, but I think poetry can sound good without it. Alliteration is beautiful if done well. (I have read Beowulf, the original poem and Tolkien's Sir Gawain and the Green Knight so I have had experience with alliterated poetry.) Non-rhyming poetry is hardly poetry, it's prose. True, there are various poems that are non-rhyming which are enjoyable to read, but, generally speaking, rhyme is more beautiful. Unfortunately, many of the judges in poetry contests these days are biased towards non-rhyming poetry and prefer it over rhyming which aggravates me exceedingly. Rhyme is important for poetry to retain it's title of poetry. The Encarta World Dictionary describes poetry as:

 "literary works written in verse, in particular verse writing of high quality, great beauty, emotional sincerity or intensity, or profound insight"
Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

If non-rhyming poetry is a 'writing of high quality' and 'great beauty' than it is poetry, but I have come across few non-rhyming poems which I have enjoyed reading. My least favorite poets would be those who are not able to capture a sense of rhyme, beauty, and rhyme in their poetry well enough, such as some of Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, and all of Carl Sandburg as well as several other inferior poets, inferior, in my belief, and not as well known, because their writing is not a 'writing of high quality' or of 'great beauty' though some unrecognized poets are exceedingly good. Anyway, these are my thoughts on poetry. What do you think?




  1. I love what you say about rhyme and meter, and I agree: it seems that the lazy "poems" you see alot of today with neither of these is just prose. ;)

  2. Yes, unfortunately we no longer have to write good poetry to be a poet.