April is National Poetry Month, so let’s talk a little bit about poetry.
As a writing major in college, I took one introduction level class about how to write poetry. I managed to get through the class with a somewhat decent grade, but poems were obviously not where my writing found its best voice. In other classes, I read the basic classical poetry, such as Keats and Wordsworth. But honestly, most poems don’t stick with me beyond an initial pleasure at how the words sound together.
But one of the many joys of being a writer is having friends who are writers, whose work can inspire you more than any long-dead author that you are forced to read for academic credit.
My friend Rae Hoffman Jager has a love for words and poetry that is infectious. She has dedicated the majority of the last decade to studying how poetry works and how to improve her own, and she has the degrees and publications to prove it. She is also one of the very few poets whom I actually enjoy reading and listening to, because her poems speak to what the world is really like and to what our lives are really like. Like anyone would, I first read a few of her poems simply because she was my friend and I wanted to support her. Then I kept reading them because those poems invaded my brain, took up residence, and made me think and feel things that I had been unaware of before. Those poems made me understand what poetry is and what it is supposed to do.
Rae’s words are woven with expertise, but also with a candid and relatable humor and truth. Her poems will make you laugh and break your heart, sometimes simultaneously. Don’t believe me? Listen to the one below, which is one of my personal favorites.
All of this brings me to the point that Rae’s first chapbook of poetry will be released this summer, and I cannot recommend enough that you check it out. Do it for a love of words and poetry. Do it to support independent artists. Do it just to humor me. But do it.
You can also read more of Rae’s work on her website, or listen to some more readings on her YouTube channel. Check them out, wet your poetic appetite, and then go pre-order her book. I promise you will not be disappointed.
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