Should everyone write poetry?

It’s National Poetry Month! Lots of fun poetry news and discussion to share with you this month.

I recently re-encountered an article from 2014: “Everybody Should Write Poetry” by Peggy Rosenthal. I had bookmarked it because I was drawn to the idea that “everyone needs to nestle down inside language to get to know its ways, to get comfy with how playful it can be, how expansive, how unexpected in its openings to new experience.” It reminded me of the kinds of conversations I’ve had in the other part of my professional life, among those of us who work in museums and in education and in the arts. Participating in something; taking a class in glass fusing, for instance, gives you an appreciation for the process and the artistic choices and the intricacies of both which you keep forever, however lopsided or surprising your own* efforts turned out to be. (*Meaning, of course, my own!)

On the same day I apparently bookmarked an article with suggestions on “How to Read Poetry” – not requirements, but suggestions on ways to approach it without the apprehension of ‘getting it wrong.’ Again, a discussion that we keep having in museums and symphonies and similar venues; how do we best let people know that, barring actual destruction, there aren’t really ways to be ‘wrong’ in such spaces? (Perhaps we should take some marginalia notes ourselves.)

So what do you think? “Should” everyone write poetry? (or make art? or play music? or fix a car?) What’s your favorite way to approach a new poem or experience?

Finally, a shameless plug, because I firmly believe that while ‘shoulds’ are odious, ‘go for its!’ are necessary and beautiful.  Therefore, if you feel like writing poetry, go for it! and you can even do some writing with me:

“Something New, Something Strange: Found Poetry” at Longfellow National Historic Site, this Thursday, 4/7, at 6:30 pm

visitor altered page at PEM

“Grace Unto Every Art: Poetry from Visual Art” also at Longfellow National Historic Site, Saturday, 4/16, at 2 pm


“The World in a Grain of Sand: Incorporating Scale in Poetry and Art” at the Peabody Essex Museum, Saturday, 4/30, at 3:15 pm (Part of the Mass Poetry Festival!)

The Brain-is wider than the Sky-For-put them side by side-the one the other will containWith ease-and You-beside-

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