On Poetry

Posted on March 6, 2010. Filed under: My Writing, Poetry | Tags: , , , |

If you’ll remember, I wrote about starting my writing career by writing poetry in middle school. I’m thinking I’ll post one or two of my poems here today for fun and to see what people think of my writing.

With that said, I won’t be mean and post some of my earliest attempts at writing poetry. I can read it, of course, but it’s not good quality writing in the least. It’s the building blocks for getting to the point I’m at today. And, really, you’d rather see a more polished poem, right?

So let’s consider the first poem. I titled it “The Difference” and wrote it as a contest piece for AllPoetry’s website. The contest was to write a poem inspired by the quote: “The only difference between a man with a tattoo and one without is a man with a tattoo doesn’t care if the man without has a tattoo.” (Okay, so that quote might be off a bit, but I think you get the gist.) I won a silver medal for that particular piece, so I thought I’d post it here for your viewing pleasure.

The Difference

Where labels reign

from lips waxed with cynicism

and names raise

status to its precarious summit,

we, the labeled, stand.

Tattooed on their hearts,

the very difference they despise

festers, gnaws, eats away at

their pristine homes, designer labeled jeans;

it faces them, that difference.

The difference: nothing.

They, like us, hold beliefs,

ideas, hopes, thoughts

contrary to societal norms.

The difference?

We wear ours; they hide theirs.

That was a particularly fun piece to write because of what I was thinking about as I wrote it. I came at it from a Christian perspective, I suppose; although, I don’t think that was very evident in the poem. And the person who created the contest made a point that they were angry because of deliberate religious prejudices against them due to some tattoo or another the person had. So I was really pleased and surprised to win the silver medal.

Any thoughts or critiques of the writing? Feel free to let me know. I’m open to hearing your thoughts and opinions.

Since a lot of my poems are rather long and tend to be quite personal (and since I don’t want to take up too much space!), I’ll put a second one out for your viewing pleasure. It’s one I wrote during a particularly dreary winter that seemed to be holding spring back. I think it was sometime in late March or early April, and due to the recent weather, it fits perfectly!

Spring, Captive

Cascading cold

shutters Spring’s light,

fills barren earth,

holds petals captive.

Cold earth

warms no hearts;

spring pushes, resistant

to Winter’s last grasp.

Spring showers

falter in chilling fear,

apparition of Winter

shades in gray.

April’s sway

moves untimely Winter

slowly to the brink,

forces her away.

Winter asks

for one last dance,

hands out, holding

Spring, captive.

I like writing about the seasons even if it is a bit cliched in poetry. I’ve only got two poems that deal with the seasons, though. The other one is about fall. There’s something poignant about painting pictures of spring and winter in words; there are so many messages you can convey through the words and imagery.

What do you think of that one? It’s not really one of my favorites like “The Difference,” but it is more light-hearted and doesn’t pack a punch like most of my poems.

I looked through several of my poems before picking these. And I have to admit: a lot of my poetry is either religious or emotive and sometimes both. I have one particular poem I wrote recently titled “second best” that might be pretty simple to figure out from the title. Another that’s similar to it and also recently written is “Strong Enough,” a very depressing poem written in particular to a friend.

I’m not really sure what it is about poetry that draws writers to pack it with every negative emotion they feel, but it seems to be the easiest medium for doing just that. And unfortunately, people rarely feel the need to express their joy through writing. (Though there are a plethora of love poems out there, so apparently romance is another good theme in poetry – but I wouldn’t want someone to write an ode to me!)

I’ll go through my poems and see if there are any of the more expressive ones that would potentially be good for putting in another blog post eventually. I actually really enjoy sharing my poetry with people because it’s something I adore. I just tend to be carful about what I show to whom. I guess that makes sense.

Now that I’ve made this more into a journal-style entry, I believe I’ll close by saying that I’d really enjoy any thoughts or comments on my poems. I don’t mind criticism either; though it helps if it’s constructive. 😀

I hope you enjoyed the poems!


(“The Difference” and “Spring,Captive” are both copyright 2010 to Rae Reneau – if you want to repost, please notify me before doing so. Thanks!)

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History of the Author

Posted on March 2, 2010. Filed under: About Me, Poetry | Tags: , , , , |

Since I’m doing some more themed posts for the month of March, I thought it would be fun to regale you with tales of my own writing history. Or at least to give you an idea of how I started writing.

For Tuesdays I thought I’d post a little of my own history as a writer for your viewing pleasure. So if it bores you, feel free to read the other posts and ignore the Tuesday ones! 😀 But it’s a little more about me as an author and what I’ve done over the years.

With no further ado, let’s begin!

I’ll go ahead and say that I’ve been a reader from a very early age. I had Peter Rabbit memorized by the time I was 2, and I’d literally stop my mom in the reading if she skipped a part of turned ahead a page. Apparently I was very dedicated to Beatrix Potter’s characters, especially if they had the name Peter.

So I grew up on books like Peter Rabbit, The Monkey and the Crocodile, and Adventures in the Big Thicket. As far as I know, we still have those three books as well because I couldn’t bear to part with them. I figure if I ever have kids I’ll read those same stories to my children.

But my love of reading was fed by parents who like to read and grandparents who love to read as well. And it blossomed mainly due to the fact I’m an only child. With no brothers or sisters to interrupt or play with, I contented myself with reading lots and lots of books as a child and playing make believe on my own. I credit my zany imagination to hours and hours of alone time as a child when I’d come up with story lines that had more complexities to them than what most children dream up.

So if you’re wondering what kind of kid I was, that should give you a clue, but couple it with a perversely outgoing personality, and I was a bit of a handful. I was always thrilled to go to school and daycare and whatnot because there were other kids around; the downside to this was those kids didn’t have the same imagination or vocabulary as me because I was always around adults. Either way, I enjoyed myself, and I learned quickly how to entertain myself in the absence of excessive TV or other playmates.

But my reading bug was something I’ve held onto, and out of that grew a love of writing. Of course, it didn’t really start till I was in middle school. Like a lot of people, I had problems in middle school. It didn’t help that I attended a private Christian academy with very few other students because I managed to become the school outcast.

Can you guess where this is going?

I’ve read that many writers began their craft under great duress, producing beautiful works that draw tears and evoke painful emotions because the writer himself was going through such hardships. Perhaps it’s a bit of a romantic notion to put myself in the same class considering I started as a seventh grader who was incredibly depressed, but I’ll throw in my own frustrations here.

By seventh grade, I’d already been the school outcast for two years, had more people gossiping about me than I cared to experience, and even incurred the wrath of teachers who saw my eagerness to please as vanity. I was the smart kid, too, always bringing in the highest grades and getting on the Principal’s List. And like many smart kids, I learned it was a double-edged sword. No one likes the kid all the teachers praise.

So I started a journal in seventh grade. I still have it, too. It was this bright green, half-inch binder full of notebook paper that I covered in stickers and wrote messages that no one could read what was inside. I’ve flipped through it since then, and it’s amazing what things I wrote. No, I didn’t come up with profound insights about life or anything like that, but I did write remarkably clearly about my frustration and pain.

And when the time came that I really suffered more than I had before, I began writing something different: poetry. Yep, tattoo a couple of stereotypes on me because I surely fit them! But in all honesty, poetry became my outlet when I was hurting and unable to tell anyone about it, and it grew from there.

Now I’d say I have a couple hundred poems I’ve written since then, and my style’s improved dramatically. I started out writing free verse, which I know sometimes catches the more critical eyes as showy and amateur, but I fell in love with it. And my own writing style really fits free verse because it’s a creation of rules by the author rather than someone else. (I’ll post later about how rules and I don’t get along according to my personality type.)

Eventually my poetry writing tapered off, but I still write the occasional poem, and it comes so much easier to me than those first poems did. Though I admit to having a few poems that wrestle with my brain, taking several days to write.

The thing about poetry is that I write it for myself. It’s the one thing I write solely for myself, and it’s the one part of my writing that really bares who I am. I can hide myself in other forms of writing, but poems bring out my vulnerability, insecurity, low self-esteem, and fears in ways that are almost palpable. And I’ve been told my poems also tend to draw those feelings out of others as well.

But I’m going a little too far in this post, so I’ll end it by saying that poetry, for better or for worse, is where my writing adventures began. It’s my first love in terms of writing, and I’ll always have a fondness for it.

Where did you begin? Was it writing journals and prose? Or did you start in poetry, too? Let me know!

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