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Mini-Lesson One: Everyone Can Participate!

World of Words with Elias Tobias is copyrighted 2001 by Michael Hall.

Interest in poetry writing and poetry in general is growing every year, at every age level. Several publishing companies in the United States offer monetary prizes in contests, and these contests draw a large response. These publishers offer anthologies to those poets who don1t win the money, at a price, of course. I have at least 10 books from two publishers alone. These books are evidence that thousands from all walks of life and all ages are writing poetry.

Further personal experience indicates a bulletin board service (BBS) I started in college, The Poetry Club, quickly became too big for a single student account. The BBS was a response to the limited "official" university poetry magazine I felt did not reflect the real poetry potential at the school. Within two years the BBS merged with another short story BBS and the Ball State (Muncie, IN) Literature Foundation became the official on-line school-sponsored writing magazine. That is making a long story very short, but the net effect is proof that poetry is alive today.

At first. potential writers may be not willing to risk writing their emotions, ideas or feelings on paper (or otherwise documented) for others to read, but as the famous ice skater Scott Hamilton once said, "The only disability in life is a bad attitude." Everyone has feelings and ideas. Writing is good therapy, an outlet for feelings or emotions that would otherwise be stifled, lost or forgotten.

The more people read poetry, the more they want to be writers because writers are also readers of poetry and other types of writing. The joy of having your work read just by members of your family or your friends may be enough for you to get started. Songs on the radio are popular, in part, because of the feelings people put into the words and music of the song, and these feelings are inspired by the work of the artist. Poetry works the same way.

Those who are risk recording their thoughts need to learn some of the techniques of the writing of poetry to improve their work. Reading other poets is a great start. Seeing how others write, and constant practice with many poems will develop your own style. The purpose of the following nine segments of this series examine sources of inspiration, the writing process, figures of speech that give life to your words, and sound devices that make your words real. The last segment shows you how to put all of these tools to use, not all at the same time perhaps, and connect your feelings and emotions to your new readers.

Poetry is for everyone, and poetry - good or bad - offers a chance to seek connections, spark a feeling, or concentrate on a single important thought - a truth of life. Everyone can participate.

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