Columns > Published on March 20th, 2020

Why I'm Writing Poetry Again: A Celebration of National Poetry Day

Photo by Karis Rogerson

I’ve been a poet almost as long as I’ve been a person who breathes.

Not an acclaimed poet; not even a published poet; but a poet nonetheless, someone who finds solace and freedom in playing with words, in language too pretty for prose, in different structures and stanzas and formats.

All through my years in school, poetry was a lifeline. It was rare for a day to pass where I didn’t write some kind of poem, even just a little four-line stanza on a napkin at lunch. I wrote about fights with friends; cute boys; depression; the moon in a German sky; I wrote about everything and nothing.

Poetry was how I connected to the world, and then suddenly — I stopped.

The years that have passed since I graduated college, almost five of them, have been some of the most awful for my mental health. And they’ve also seen me slowly but surely stop writing poetry. I don’t think I’ve been depressed because I haven’t been writing; nor do I think I haven’t been writing because I’ve been depressed. I think both statements are true and false in equal measure.

It’s hard to remember that joy can exist in the same spaces as fear, anger, uncertainty.

See, poetry was always a way for me to connect to the world. To see the beauty in the mundane, to find peace in the chaos, to coexist with everyone around me. And depression is like a wall in my brain that keeps me from doing that. If I don’t see the beauty, how can I write a poem about it? If I’m not writing a poem about beauty, how can I see it?

Last August, I decided to force the issue and do a poem-a-day challenge for myself. For each of the 31 days of the month, I would write a poem.

I did not write a poem a day.

Nor were even half the poems any good. In terms of winning the challenge or penning world-rocking poetry, the challenge was not a success. But in terms of getting me back into the habit of looking at the world through a poetic lens? In terms of reminding me that there is beauty, yes, there, just around the bend or up ahead or to the left? In terms of getting me into the practice of putting one word after the other.

A break in the flow.

A new start?

It was a giant success. I’ve been writing poetry again since August. In fact, a few weeks ago I was in a Lyft driving through Manhattan, looking out the window at the scaffolding and the mounds of trash, taking in the pedestrians flagrantly ignoring road signs to cross the street, and the germ of a poem started up in my mind.

And next thing you know, I wrote and posted a whole piece to Instagram.

This Saturday is the UN’s World Poetry Day, a holiday described as “an occasion to honor poets, revive oral traditions of poetry recitals, promote the reading, writing and teaching of poetry, foster the convergence between poetry and other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and raise the visibility of poetry in the media.”

I’ll be celebrating poetry and its ability to bring people together, and most of all how it reminds me of the beauty in the little things. Especially in these days, living through a global pandemic, practicing social isolation, it’s hard to remember that joy can exist in the same spaces as fear, anger, uncertainty.

Poetry helps me (and hopefully all of us) remember that.

About the author

Karis Rogerson is a mid-20s aspiring author who lives in Brooklyn and works at a cafe—so totally that person they warn you about when you declare your English major. In addition to embracing the cliched nature of her life, she spends her days reading, binge-watching cop shows (Olivia Benson is her favorite character) and fangirling about all things literary, New York and selfie-related. You can find her other writing on her website and maybe someday you’ll be able to buy her novels.

Similar Columns

Explore other columns from across the blog.

Book Brawl: Geek Love vs. Water for Elephants

In Book Brawl, two books that are somehow related will get in the ring and fight it out for the coveted honor of being declared literary champion. Two books enter. One book leaves. This month,...

The 10 Best Sci-Fi Books That Should Be Box Office Blockbusters

It seems as if Hollywood is entirely bereft of fresh material. Next year, three different live-action Snow White films will be released in the States. Disney is still terrorizing audiences with t...

Books Without Borders: Life after Liquidation

Though many true book enthusiasts, particularly in the Northwest where locally owned retailers are more common than paperback novels with Fabio on the cover, would never have set foot in a mega-c...

From Silk Purses to Sows’ Ears

Photo via Moviegoers whose taste in cinema consists entirely of keeping up with the Joneses, or if they’re confident in their ignorance, being the Joneses - the middlebrow, the ...

Cliche, the Literary Default

Original Photo by Gerhard Lipold As writers, we’re constantly told to avoid the cliché. MFA programs in particular indoctrinate an almost Pavlovian shock response against it; workshops in...

A Recap Of... The Wicked Universe

Out of Oz marks Gregory Maguire’s fourth and final book in the series beginning with his brilliant, beloved Wicked. Maguire’s Wicked universe is richly complex, politically contentious, and fille...

Reedsy | Editors with Marker (Marketplace Editors)| 2024-05

Submitting your manuscript?

Professional editors help your manuscript stand out for the right reasons.

Reedsy Marketplace UI

1 million authors trust the professionals on Reedsy. Come meet them.

Enter your email or get started with a social account: