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The Most Important Thing About Poetry not how to write it. What am I talking about? Although it's true one needs to understand grammar, spelling, meter, and all that other "poetry stuff" they teach you in school, the MOST important thing about writing poetry has nothing to do with the craft of writing it. (Or does it?)

Matt Forrest Esenwine

45 Minute Program



OK, so here's the secret: the most important thing one needs to do when beginning a poem is NOT having a command of all classic and contemporary poetic forms, knowing the difference between iambic pentameter and dactylic dimeter, or having a vocabulary that would make Noah Webster jealous.

And it's certainly not knowing how to rhyme.

The one thing every poet needs to do is...understand one's subject.

And it's not always as easy as you think! Whether you're going to write a poem about your one true love, a favorite pet, or a small lump of green putty, you need to spend time thinking about the subject, contemplating it. In modern parlance, some folks might call this mindfulness or meditation, but poets have been doing it for eons!

Say you want to write about a tree. Let's think about it: where is the tree? Why is it there? What does it look like? What does it feel like? What might it be thinking? What else could it be, besides a tree? There are myriad questions one might ask to help to get to root of the subject (forgive the pun, wholeheartedly intended) - and it doesn't matter whether you're a 2nd-grader learning to write or a professional novelist just getting their own poetic feet wet (another wholeheartedly intended pun). Once you understand the subject, you can gain insight as to how you want to approach the subject. Poems need not rhyme, they need not have a discernible rhythm, they don't even need titles...but they do need focus, and that's where this program can help.

About the Author

Matt’s debut picture book "Flashlight Night" (Boyds Mills & Kane, 2017) received national critical reviews and was selected by the New York Public Library as one of 2017’s Best Books for Kids.

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