Friday, April 27, 2012

National Poetry Month: Guest Blogger Rachel Melville

Thank you to Rachel Melville for today's post about leaving the comfortable word of prose to try something new: poetry.

Rachel Melville is a writer who lives and works in West Michigan with her husband Nick and two children, Jalen and Serenity. Currently, Rachel is looking forward to the end of her MFA journey in May when she will received her degree from Naropa University.

Poetry For the Non-Poet or Becoming a Writer

From the outside, poetry can be a bit aloof, or perhaps, like the “cool kid’s table” and you and your prose are not allowed. I felt that way for much of my writing life— that is until this past year when I took an MFA Poetry writing course labeled “Poetry and the Isms”. It was after taking this course that I went from being a prose writer to a true writer.

If you aren’t familiar with the Isms, let me help you out. There is are many, but Symbolism, Fundamentalism, Objectivism and Dadaism are my personal favorites. The funny thing about discovering these eras where new forms of poetry were being created is that I never (and I mean never) would have come across them had I not taken this class. I was content to live out my existence without really venturing a look at the scope of what is defined as poetry. This class became the launching pad into new poets, forms and techniques, and most importantly, a new perspective on poetry. I came away from this class having a better understanding of what poetry can be and produced a body of poetic work that I was quite proud of. I was a writer from then on— not just a prose writer or just a poet.

So what is the take-away from this observation? That making effort to stretch yourself and challenge your prose writing friends to do likewise is beneficial to your writing life. Take a survey course or workshop that “forces” you to engage with writing styles you are unaccustomed to. It can make all of the difference from being labeled type of writer to just: writer.

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