I used to hate poetry. It was like a foreign language to me. So full of rhyme, meter, and metaphor that I felt that unless I got Ph.D. in it, I’d probably never understand it. 

Poetry was for artists, scholars, and people born with that ability—like a superpower. It wasn’t for me. And at this time in my life, I hadn’t realized I was an artist yet. 

The poetry unit in high school English class always made me groan. Why couldn’t the poets say what they mean? Why did they have to convey emotion through flowers blooming instead of just saying they were in love? 

In college, I couldn’t escape poetry, either. As an English and Creative Writing major, I knew that I would have to read more poetry, but I’d have to write poetry too. This was an even scarier thought. 

So, my answer to thinking I didn’t have the skill set to take poetry seriously was to purposely turn poetry on its head. For example, during one semester, I wrote all of my emails, notes, and reminders in the style of William Carlos Williams’ poem This Is Just to Say. If you don’t remember the poem, you can find it easily with a Google search. It’s the one about the plums.

I then compiled them all and turned them in at the end of the class. 

For another assignment,  I would take a poem, translate it into a different language using Google translate, then translate it back to English and turn that in. I didn’t want to put much mental energy into poetry. Although I was a creative writing major, I was a fiction writer, not a poet. 

Yet, I still got through it all. Passed my poetry classes. I thought I was cheating like I was getting away with something. 

And then, a teacher said something that proved me wrong—on several levels. He said that poetry was less a form of writing—and more a type of art. Once I heard that, my entire view of poetry changed. Just like there are different types of art—some I like and some I don’t—there are different types of poetry (again, some I like, and some I don’t). I also realized that against all of my efforts, I was making art! I was writing poetry and was open to writing and reading more poetry after that moment. 

Which proved to be handy because, in 2020, I was in a creative slump. I’ll let you guess why. So, I decided to do something wacky. I reread each of the original 62 Goosebumps books and wrote haiku to summarize each one. I didn’t edit them. I didn’t workshop them, and I didn’t give myself too many rules. In fact, the only rule was that it had to be a 5-7-5 haiku (5 syllables, 7 syllables, and then 5 syllables again), and then I would post it to my Instagram. Here is the first one: 


Welcome to Dead House.

Dark Falls: a nice place to stay

It will just kill you. 

I had so much fun with this project. Not only did I have fun writing them, but my friends and family had fun reading them. 

Right now, I’m working on a blackout poetry project loosely based on Jessica McHugh’s work. It’s also Goosebumps-themed. 

I share this because April is National Poetry Month—and I want people to celebrate it. I want people to feel like they can  celebrate it. I want people to know that poetry can be for anyone and everyone. You don’t need a fancy degree or be born with a special literary superpower to “get it” or create it. 

This is just to say 

That you can

write poetry

and you can

read poetry 

the good

and bad probably


you can. 

Forgive me

for this cheesy

end to

my blog post

And if that wasn’t enough to persuade you—here are some lists of books that can help kickstart your poetry journey. 

On Writing Poetry | Main library (jcls.org) 

Poetry Collections for People who Don’t Like Poetry | Main library (jcls.org)