Poetry as a Stepping Stone

So, I'm a poet. I don't write only poetry, but most people seem to think so. I also write fiction, though not as competently (in my eyes) as poetry; which is a scary thought if you've ever read some of my poetry but I digress.

Many of those same people in my life see my poetry as a stepping stone to something more. When did writing poetry become step one to penning a break-out novel? What happened to poems being their own wonders? Is my work supposed to get gradually longer until it becomes a 80,000 word tome?

I blame academics most because many write for each other instead of connecting to what is universal. They keep much of the population from even picking up a poem, much less being engaged. Something once accessible and interesting has turned into something alien or unworthy.

But, one could argue, poetry is not as successful as fiction novels. Well, besides the above as to why that could be, it doesn't matter. That's right, it doesn't! I love poems, both reading and writing them. So what if I never get famous writing them? Do you know how many people have multiple fiction books published without receiving critical acclaim?

So, heed me people: Poetry is not my stepping stone, but my skipping stone. Each ripple I make with it, however small, has made an impact. I would rather see the ripples, than fall off a slippery rock on the way forward and drown in the thoughts of fame which may not come.

Do you guys have problems like this?


  1. It is a thorn in my mind. One of my goals is to bring general readers back to poetry. I'll share a poem, and someone will say 'oh, I don't understand poetry.' When did that happen? Magazines accepting unsolicited works will oftn say 'no poetry'. AARP is like that. I submitted anyway. They rejected, as I expected. Hey, maybe certain groups are jealous of our rhyming and/o meters that come naturally to poets. Maybe society know longer knows what a poet is.

  2. Poetry is an art form all of its own! So many people have come through their entire education without cultivating any understanding of it. There are times when I "admit" to someone that I write poetry, and I could swear that the expression on her face is a mixture of fear, astonishment and general distress! Why?!?! It really doesn't make sense!

    Your last paragraph - the skipping stone - is a beautiful image! That could grow into a poem!

  3. When I tell someone I write poetry, I often feel the need to hasten and add fiction to it. Not that "fiction" on the end is a lie, but the fact I think I should let other people know it isn't all I write is horrid. When did poets become not as "good" as other writers?

    Poetry is most writers' "backseat" type of writing and, if other writers can't/won't put poetry first at least some of the time, what hope is there for our audience?