Sunday, May 2, 2010

Poetry: Finding Your Voice

Why do you need to find your voice?

Let's face it, there are so many poets out there writing poetry, tomes of poetry. If you have any hope of ever standing out, of writing and publishing and then selling what you write, you have to stand out from the crowd. Dare to be different. Dare to take chances with your subject matter, and above all else, write with passion. Your personal voice comes from your uniqueness, the very essence of what sets you apart from everyone else.

Care about your subject matter. If you don't care about the subject you're writing about, you won't ever discover your true voice. It can't exist when you're trying to write in a genre you hate, or in a subject you know nothing about, just because everyone else is writing about it. It also can't exist in the shallow places of your heart or the emptiness of your soul. Voice lives in the deepest waters and the darkest recesses of your very soul. It will only venture out when you've recognized it, given it the passion to grow and then room to breathe, as you write it to life.

What IS voice? With poetry, it can be a combination of things:

* the genre in which you write: children, adults, eroticism, et al
* whether you write in rhyme or free verse
* whether you punctuate and/or capitalize
* first person narrative vs. third person, et al
* subject matter, i.e., pastoral, humor, satire, beat, etc.

Voice is putting yourself into the poetry. Voice is actually bleeding yourself onto the very page.

My own true passion for writing poetry comes from my inner child. That is my poetic voice. I also write poetry for adults, but my true passion lies within writing poetry for children.

The Child Within
by CJ Heck

Down inside this grownup
lives the child that used to be.
When I look in my mirror,
she stares right back at me.

Now that I’m a grownup,
it’s an older face I see,
but the child’s still there, just hiding,
way down deep inside of me.

Sometimes we work together,
that little girl and me.
She comes up from her hiding place
and we write poetry.

I like being grown up
and I wouldn’t wanna swap.
Well, maybe a little younger face
with no grey hair on top.

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