Shelley Widhalm of Shell’s Ink Services reads some of her poetry at a previous poetry reading at the Loveland Museum/Gallery in Loveland, Colo.
By SHELLEY WIDHALM
Listening to and writing poetry doesn’t seem to fit into the fast-paced business world of SEO, key words and tracking analytics.
A poem has rhythm, pacing and structure, while blogs and business writing aim for a certain voice, objective and spin, all to capture attention. A poem exists on the page, the lines and spacing giving it shape, while blogs use optimized headlines, bullet points and short written content to provide the structure.
Another way to put it is a poem is quiet, existing in a book or chapbook or even on a piece of paper. A blog is loud and out there trying to get clicks.
Both capture audiences, but in different ways.
A poem wants readers and to give expression to the internal, to memory and to observation.
A blog wants followers and to increase numbers to build toward marketing a business or attracting advertising to further promote the blog.
Like blogs, poems can become loud when they are given physical voice, such as in a poetry reading or poetry slam.
I’ll be reading two of my poems this week in two separate readings, both a part of National Poetry Month in April. National Poetry Month is an annual celebration of poetry started by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 as a literary celebration of poetry and its place in society.
Two Poetry Readings
The first reading is “For Spacious Skies, celebrating early American poetry,” on Thursday, April 20, at the Loveland Museum/Gallery. I will read a poem in the style of Edward Taylor, colonial America’s foremost poet and a minister and physician. I wrote two poems after studying Taylor’s biography, a few of his poems and his approach to writing, including his tone, voice and word usage.
I’m trying to decide which of the two poems to pick for the invited poetry reading, where local poets selected an American colonist and wrote a response, such as in the same style or using similar subjects. One of my poems is more fun in tone and takes place in the kitchen, while the other is serious and reflective.
The second reading I plan to attend is Poudre River Public Library District’s Fifth Annual Battle of the Bards on Friday, April 21. The 10 finalists of the poetry contest will be reading their poems at the Harmony Library, and the first- to third-place winners will be announced. My poem that was selected, “Flower Centers,” compares various emotional states to different types of flowers.
A Final Thought
To further compare poems with blogs, I wanted to add a couple of notes:
Poems have titles on top (sometimes) and lines of text that aren’t necessarily aligned with the right margin.
Blogs have headlines scattered throughout and lots of the previously mentioned bullet points.
I’ve yet to see a poem with a bullet point:
Roses are red
- Violets are blue.
- Sugar is sweet …
I hope to see you at the readings.