Poetry as Memoir, Poetry in Memoir

April is National Poetry Month. I came across a posting from the Los Angeles Independent about a Poetry as Memoir workshop, led by poet Steven Reigns, on April 15 at the West Hollywood Library. What an interesting concept, and difficult I would think. For most people it’s hard enough to sit down and write anything about their life, so getting artistic with rhyming words is out of the question. But for those who enjoy poetry, enjoy writing, want a challenge, or want to try something different, this could be your kind of fun. If you’re really good, advance to “haiku memoir.”

I do think there are many poets hidden amongst us, though. Everyday people with a little secret, because sharing a poem is like stripping the skin off your soul. Poems tend to be highly personal, creative expressions of sensitivity, and when exposed to an eye-rolling, cynical society wanting perfection, one can only cringe while waiting for a response. Just as in memoir writing!

If you do toy with writing poetry, think about including some in your lifewriting. You really don’t have to be a “professional” poet for your family and friends. Just as a passed-down recipe or favorite song lyrics or some doodles add a little spice to a memoir, so can a poem be a special piece of you. Your poem can be of feelings about a childhood home, a love note to a child, a memory of any moment in time that affects your heart – no rhyming necessary. I have a couple hidden poems about each of my daughters, part of mini journals of their childhood that I plan to give to them when they leave for homes of their own.

So, in honor of Poetry Month, try your hand at writing a little poem. Or at least read one.

Shy girl, always scared,
Learned confidence, dared to try –
Renaissance woman!

Poems hang out where life is
-Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life With Words by Susan G. Wooldridge


About moonbridgebooks

Co-author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a WWII Japan memoir of her mother's childhood; author of Poems That Come to Mind, for caregivers of dementia patients; Co-author/Editor of Battlefield Doc, a medic's memoir of combat duty during the Korean War; life writing enthusiast; loves history and culture (especially Japan), poetry, and cats
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