Writing Poetry: By Eva Marie Cagley.

Updated: Mar 7

Guest writer for "The NZDream" blog

Your First Poetry Book:

There’s nothing like the excitement of having your first book of poetry published. After years of thinking about it and knowing it was a dream of mine to leave my legacy behind. I finally have accomplished just that! I asked myself the question, why didn’t I do this before? The answer was simple. It just wasn’t my time yet. But like all dreams, we need to put them into action to achieve them. I have been writing for years now since I was about twelve years old. I kept every single poem I ever wrote. And as the years went by, my poetry got better and better. And I found that reading other's poetry really helped.

Sure, there were times when I’d have a dry spell and the ink didn’t flow from my pen. But during those times, I continued to read. When the ink flowed, I wrote! All the time waiting for this time in my life to come. I shared my poetry with family and friends, to begin with. Even gave them out for Christmas gifts framed and made especially for each person. Then came the internet. Wow, a lot of sites to post poems on. And I did all over the place. I found my poetry home at The Poets Narrative on Facebook. My new poems will be posted on this site and some will be read on YouTube. I tell you this is all happening at once and I am on cloud nine. I imagine it’s that way for a lot of us poets. Things just start to click. Don’t be afraid to try something new. When I first heard my poems read on YouTube narrated by Alan Johnson, it was so exciting and another way of getting my poetry out there.

So, the key here is don’t give up on your dreams. You can make them happen. But you must act. The first step is having enough poems written to put a book together. Fifty poems do nicely for this. If you have more than fifty, then you have the hard task of picking out the ones you want to use in your first book and what theme you want to go with. For example, will it be a love poetry book with only love poems or perhaps about nature, spirituality, or a variety. Then you must decide what order you want to put them in, this is for your table of contents page. You’ll have to have an About the Author page that gives a little information about yourself and, if you wish, a Dedication page. I dedicated most of my five books to my parents who have passed. For guidance on my About the Author and Dedication page, I referred to other’s books I have bought and read a few of those.

Now, this is all extremely exciting, and you even take part in what you want for your book cover and, of course, you need to pick a title. It is particularly important to pick a title that is catchy, as the first thing the reader will see is your book cover and its title. You must create some interest with just this alone for them to want to see what is inside. I choose the title Where Poets Dream for my first book from a poem I wrote called “Where Poets Dream,” and placed that poem first in my book. The more poems you post online, the more exposure you will get, but remember to mix it up and put some poems in your book that no one has ever read. It was suggested to me to mix the poems up with some short and then long to keep the reader from losing interest. That was a hard task for me as I write a lot of long poems.

You must believe in yourself! When my mother was in the hospital, I brought my poetry up to the hospital and my aunt would read them to her. She was quite pleased with this and asked for more to be read. That was when I realized my mother really liked my poetry. She was proud of me. My father and I had a talk one day after my mom had passed and said I should write a book of poems. That’s when I realized he liked my poems and was proud of me. That meant the world to me. Knowing they were in my ballpark made all the difference in the world. I got excited about my poetry again. I started thinking seriously about that book. Sadly, dad passed shortly after that conversation and that was when I started to plan to put my poetry together in a book.

Several members of my family are also gifted with writing poetry, and I hope my books encourage them to reach out for their dreams as well as all of you! I’ll bet a lot of your poets out there are sitting on a gold mine of poems. Like I am, I have written over four hundred of them. Well, if you’re like me, then maybe it’s your time to write that book of poetry. At first, I doubted if my poetry was good enough to put in a book. But I found with posting on the internet I got a lot of likes and people seemed to be enjoying my poems. And I was enjoying reading theirs. Which gave me even more confidence in my poetry. So, what I’m saying here is don’t sell yourself short. You’re a lot better than you think. There’s nothing quite like having your poems n published and narrated by a professional reader. My advice to all of you readers and writers is don’t be afraid to reach out for those dreams. With a little hard work and action, you can make those dreams come true!

Oh, and one other thing, don’t go getting your hopes up to make a lot of money off selling your poetry books. It is hard to tell how many you might sell. I wrote my book for my own pleasure for the most part and to share my poetic journey with others. I don’t have any unrealistic expectations of becoming rich off it. If I make money off it, then great, that’s a plus. But as I said in the beginning, for me, it is about leaving my legacy behind. A book to last years after I’ve left this earth. I hope to see you all in print soon. I’ll leave you now with some food for thought.

Poetry, Quotes: I’ve known rivers: I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers.” Langston Hughes , “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou “Poetry is the shadow cast by our streetlight imaginations.” Lawrence Ferlinghetti William Wordsworth defined poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.” Emily Dickinson said, “If I read a book, and it makes my body so cold no fire ever can warm me, I know that is poetry. Dylan Thomas described poetry this way: “Poetry is what makes my toenails twinkle, what makes me want to do this or that or nothing.” Edgar Allan Poe said, “Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own.” Eva Marie Cagley said,

“Poetry is a deep longing for the expression of your innermost self. Thoughts and feelings expressed are a form that enhances the reader’s senses and takes you along on its journey, whatever that may be. Poetry evokes a sense of emotion such as joy, sorrow, anger, love, etc.… It has an ah-ha moment! It contains truth and beauty in one. Poetry is of the imagination. With the ability to get to the core of emotions. It is a sensitivity to language. Rhythm is the heartbeat of every poem. It has an awe factor about it. The core of poetry lies in its meaning and power of presentation. With few words, it expresses the truth. With imagery, it paints a beautiful canvas of words that play upon each -another knowledge. It can be whatever you form the birthing of it to be. “

© Eva Marie Cagley

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