One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2017 was to have more art in my life and one of the ways I decided to do this was to read more poetry.

So far, I’ve worked my way through 9 collections by dipping in here and there and always making sure I have some volumes on hand from my frequent trips to the library.

(If you’re interested, you can always connect with me and see what I’m reading on Goodreads.)

It has been years since I read poetry regularly, so diving back in has been interesting. I’m starting out by focusing on some familiar names like Mary Oliver, Adrienne Rich, Sharon Olds, and Billy Collins but I eventually hope to branch out a bit to see who else I can find.

Reading more poetry has been an excellent tutorial in slowing down, since it’s easy to miss the subtle nuances of a poem if you are just skimming or reading for completion rather than understanding. Several times, I have had to re-read a poem because I lost focus part of the way through. It reminds me a bit of my attempts at meditation, or how I had to train myself to listen more attentively when reading audio books.

I can easily say that the most surprising thing so far about reading more poetry is that it has made me want to write more poetry. Writing poetry is something I haven’t done since my undergraduate days when I was taking poetry workshops as a creative writing major. In other words, my creative writing muscles are pretty rusty. I also really don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to form or cadence.

And I think that’s what makes it so fun.

We all need areas of our lives where we can be creative without boundaries, where we can experiment and play. I don’t know that I’ll ever share this poetry that I’m writing with anyone else, but it’s been a great way to process some emotions and to play with language in a different format than what I’m used to.

Writing more poetry has gotten me thinking about the other areas of our lives where we often express creativity in more informal ways:

  • cooking
  • journaling
  • singing in the shower
  • mentoring
  • podcasting
  • blogging
  • social media engagement

We may not think of these areas as play spaces for creativity, but I think they certainly could be.

To think on:

  • When was the last time you read or wrote a poem?
  • How do you infuse play and experimentation into your life?