When writing poetry scares the bejeebers out of us

This is Part Three of a series to understanding and overcoming our fear and/or hatred of poetry.

The summary:

  1. Poetry is all about vulnerability. And vulnerability is a bit like sticking your tongue on a frozen light pole. Ripping the poem out of your gut will hurt. Most of us don’t run straight into pain. We avoid pain. We learn quickly not to stick our fingers in the flames or our head into a vice.


             Be advised: there’s an Advil for that and it rhymes with “run.”

2. Some people think poetry is all about giving their hearts away and without a heart, they’d be unrecognizable. Deflated, humbled, meek, mild, and a lot of weird.  But, what most people don’t know is that list is a fallacy invented by a copywriter in Tulsa.  

 Most poets are not mousy mild and our hearts are too big for that gaunt deflated look.

 3. To write is to reveal. Whether it’s a modest sweetheart neckline or a plunging one, we expose our splotches and freckles and occasional prickly warts within our poem’s phrasing and verses.

 Spotlighting our uglies is scarier than barrel-rolling over Niagara Falls.

3. Some people won’t go near a poem because they have a fear of poets—that strange, deranged breed of abbey normal humans. I guess those of us wearing the Poet name tag need to work on that. Maybe we could stop wearing plaids with polka dots and comb our hair once in a while.

To enlighten the metrophobe

I want to (gulp) share something with you. For me, the writing part feels good.

On a good day.

It’s the parading it in public that scares me.

On every day.

I  fear poetry, too, and, at times, I hate it. It’s like the ugly loveable tic-ridden stray tom cat that keeps showing up at my door to be fed but when I mercifully open the door, he hisses at me.

Love/hate/fear all yarned together.

Just like you might feel about our said topic of poety.

But . . . there’s a book for that.  

Today’s steps:

  • Search for one of these books at your local library. (Don’t forget about inter-library loan. I use that ALL the time.)

  • Choose a time of the day when you feel courageous. For me, that’s just after a nice chocolate sandwich topped with jamocha almond granola. Cuddle under you childhood blankey, the one with the puckered ribbon and frayed corners. Open the cover slowly, take a break if you must, then flip to the first poem. 

The first tiny poem.



Read one. Then maybe another. And another.

In with the good air. Out with that skulking, belittling, critical voice in your head that says you’re in enemy territory.

  • Then, you try one. One tiny poem. Scratch it on your napkin. No one has to read it. It really doesn’t have to rhyme. You don’t even need complete sentences. Just one thought. 

After the first five or so, I’ll bet that your bejeebers  will drop to the floor and slither under the patio door.

Don’t worry.

Bejeebers are kind of like tonsils. 

Just keep writing.



Today’s bonus read: Follow the bouncing blog to Kiril Kundurazieff”s Mad Macedonian  to read about his adventure into poetry.


1 comment for “When writing poetry scares the bejeebers out of us

  1. Amy
    April 17, 2013 at 12:33 am

    Great way to wrap up your series, J. Lynn. I have enjoyed every word.

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