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Friday Speak Out!: Why Poetry?

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by  Penny Wilson

Why do I write poetry? Other than the fact that I love it, there are several reasons.

I’ve got a novel, a crime thriller, that I’ve been working on, for 4 or so years, off and on. Yeah, a lot. I know. But other than that piece, I need other ways to express myself and poetry is the perfect outlet.

Poetry takes many forms. With this freedom, my imagination can run wild. My poems can be subjective, leaving the interpretation up to the reader. They can have meaning to me that no one else would understand, but it’s a way to express that feeling/experience.

My poems give me the freedom to express my inner thoughts or feelings that I would not normally voice. The expression of these things, again, can be interpreted differently by different readers. I can cry, laugh, curse, spit or throw a written tantrum. I don’t have to worry about adhering to the niceties of society. No worry that I’ll be locked away or shunned for such behavior.

Another advantage of writing poetry is that it can be as long or short as you want it to be. The majority of my poetry is quite short. The short poems work out great because I can get my writing “fix” and move on to other things.

Poems can vary from light and happy to dark and somber. I never know what colors will be on my palette when I sit down to write. Poetry lets me be brutally honest with whatever I decide to write about; more so than any other form of writing that I’ve experienced.

I’ve always loved poetry, even as a young child. I poured over almost any book that I could get my hands on, reading well above my grade level from an early age. (Thank you, Mom) With poetry, I felt that I HAD to UNDERSTAND what the writer was saying. With a dictionary in hand, sometimes I would go line by line trying to decipher them. Now as an adult, I have a real appreciation for this art form.

I sometimes wonder about the thought processes behind what people write. I can understand the inspiration for many forms of writing. Romance, historical, biographies, even crime thrillers. But other genres, I don’t get it. Where does the inspiration come from that compels someone to write about 6-legged aliens or dinosaurs that sing and dance alongside humans?

Everything that I write has some of ME in it. No matter what the subject matter is. Little bits and pieces, experiences, memories, what I read or have seen in my life find their way into what I write.

How about you? Why do you write what you do?

* * *

Penny Wilson is a freelance writer who writes in several genres. Her poetry has been published in online journals, such as Ariel Chart, Spill Words Press and the Poppy Road Review. Her poetry has been featured in the publication America’s Emerging Poets 2018 & 2019 by Z Publishing, Poets Quarterly and Dual Coast Magazine published by Prolific Press. Penny is a member of the Austin Poetry Society. You can find more of her writings on her blog at  and follow her on Twitter @pennywilson123.


Would you like to participate in Friday “Speak Out!? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


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Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!‘s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Flash Fiction Contest. Open Now!

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