I’ve had poetry on the brain lately.
I went through a big poetry-writing phase in elementary school, back when I wanted to do everything Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon did, and then didn’t write any more until we had a poetry unit in AP English and had to write 10 poems.
I wrote the poems; I got a good grade, and they were really, really bad and I knew it. I am not good at writing poetry. But I have a lot of really great memories of that poetry unit. For example, when my friend Libby wrote a poem that began with the line, “How awful to be a banana these days.” And when someone stood up and read the lyrics to a song by Skee-Lo and passed it off as a poem. And several other poems which I cannot share here.
When I taught high school, I had students who were good at writing poetry. Exceptional, really. And sometimes it was surprising who was amazing at it. I still remember when the blonde, bubbly cheerleader who I thought had a perfect life wrote a poem of such depth and anguish that it made me cry. I always knew a lot of my students were smarter than I was, but the poetry unit really, really floored me.
Here’s my problem: I need to write a poem for the book I’m working on now. Well, I need my main character to write a poem, but obviously she cannot do it without my help. So I’m in big trouble. Every time I try to write the poem I start giggling. Because I’m so darn bad at it. And it’s supposed to be romantic! Not funny!
So: if any of my former high school students are out there, and you would like to ghostwrite my poetry, call me! Or else I’m going to have to contact Skee-Lo and see if he has any more lyrics he hasn’t used yet…