Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Healing Power of Poetry

Before I ever wrote a novel, before I considered publishing, I wrote poetry. I would not say that makes me a poet, but it was my way expressing those deep emotions within me during my teens and early twenties.

Last night I was feeling a little down. I dug up my old book of poetry. It’s an old orange Hilroy exercise book. The poems are written in pen with neat curlicue handwriting. Most of the poems are religious and there are little one-liners outlining what I was going through at the time they were written. This I guess was as close as I’ve ever come to having a diary.

As I read through I realized most were written as I was going through a period of transition and uncertainty. Many sought comfort in a confusing world. As I read them, my spirits began to lift. My faith in God and the goodness of man was restored. I was lifted from the doldrums. Those poems written decades ago still hold the power to cheer me up today.
I’ll share one with you:

Don't Worry Be Happy

Oft’ we’re burdened with troublesome life
Temptations, trials, heartaches, and strife
Yet when we think that all is amiss
God’s there to redeem us with salvation’s kiss
Don’t worry, be happy, God will provide
Who can prevail o’er us with God on our side?

Sadness and heartaches, violence and crime,
Overcast days, no sign of sunshine;
Be not dismayed, whatever you do
The good merciful Lord, will take care of you
Don’t worry, be happy, God will provide
Who can prevail o’er us with God on our side?

When low in the gutter, deep in the pit
Don’t shatter your life with a broken spirit
Put a smile on your face, say I’ll overcome
My Lord up in heaven will ne’er leave me alone
Don’t worry, be happy God will provide
Who can prevail o’er us with God on hour side?

Almost two decades ago when I came to this country I tried to publish the collection. I met with a stone wall; few publishers were willing to take a chance on poetry. But now as I read them I realize I would like to share them with the world. They may hold the power to lift another person’s spirits. So my question to you is: how do you go about publishing poetry?


Charles Gramlich said...

Poetry is a hard sell. Even small poetry publishers are unlikely to publish a collection unless quite a few of the poems have been published and the poet has at least a little bit of a fan base for their poems. I don't know if you have had some of them published or not, but if not, definitely try the poetry magazines with a few poems at a time. There are a number of markets for poetry online, and the book "poet's market" lists a lot as well. You probably already know this stuff. Once you've had a number of them published there might be more publishers who'd look at a collection.

G said...

I agree with Charles. The only other option that immediately popped to mind was self-pubbing, and I think with poetry that would definitely be a hard thing to do.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Thanks for the tips guys. I haven't had any of the poems published individually as yet. I may try the self-pub route but even that can be a little tricky.

Liane Spicer said...

Jewel, I've done some research into this on behalf of a friend and what I gathered is that there are very few paying markets for poetry. Writing poetry is a labour of love.

The guy I mentioned earlier eventually self-published his collection. That was about five years ago when self-publishing was the worst thing you could do for your novel - but was actually recommended for poetry.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Thanks Liane. I haven't written poetry in many years, but this collection is near and dear to my heart. I will try to self publish it eventually, if there is no other route available.

Carol Mitchell said...

Hi Jewel, If you decide to go the self-publishing route, give me a shout, I may be able to provide some small assistance.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Thanks Carol. Since I have never done it before, I need all the help I can get.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Just a little self editing: I just noticed a typo in the sample poem. The last line says "God on HOUR side". It should be "God on OUR side".

Anyone else noticed the typo or am I being just too critical of my own writing? (Yeah I get freaked out when I notice errors in work that I've published.)

KeVin K. said...

I never developed the discipline poetry demands.

This didn't stop me from trying, of course.
Between the latter days of high school and the first months of college I produced four or five kilos of mutilated meter and forced rhymes before generating one 23-word poem that I liked and did not make everyone else cringe.
Blank verse and more word play than spiritual value, but I figured I'd better quit while I was ahead.
That was in 1972. Haven't committed an act of poesy since.

So I'm pretty impressed with what you've accomplished. Wish I knew a resource that could help you get your work published.