A Beginner’s Guide to Poetry

First Letter form the Editor of little infinite - poetry for life

How I went from being a complete poetry novice to editing little infinite.

I’m going to level with you: I am probably the last person I would pick to edit a poetry website. When I was young and falling in love with language for the first time, short stories and novellas won my heart. Then longer novels. Then series. I’d lose hours in the passages of Anne of Green Gables, Goosebumps, The Chronicles of Narnia. As for poetry? The pages felt sparse to me. I loved what Shel Silverstein did– so witty and clever and blithe about the images he evoked, the sharp (sometimes even subversive) messages he layered into all the mounds of fun. But I didn’t explore further.

In school, I trudged through the curriculums on poetry. When I could choose what to study on my own, I dove deep into film, literature, representation of women. I didn’t stick around for poetry. I didn’t get it.

I realize I’m at risk of losing some of you, but hear me out. As both readers and writers, we’re on journeys of growth and discovery. I am no different. The last handful of months have been an aggressive crash course in poetry, and I won’t belabor this note with details of my expectations. Suffice it to say I was hesitant when I stepped to the edge of the water. What I found when I took a deep breath and jumped into this community of creators will leave me forever changed. Challenged. Deeper. More open. More wonder-struck.

I love poetry, now. It remains that I don’t have an MFA in poetry. I don’t have to, to love it intensely. And its creators. Poets weave magic from words, pulling together sharp emotions and soft visuals, playing with metaphor and language in ways that surprise and delight. There is something about writing in a form that is rooted in concision, in rhythm, in rhyme, that takes their craft of architecting prose to another plane.

I stand here on the sidelines, carefully observing, reporting back what I see. And what I’ve witnessed is a community of poets that love one another, empower one another, celebrate one another. It is rooted in honesty, authenticity, vulnerability– the kind of self-awareness and exposure that makes a letter like this possible. I’ve seen people connect with each other, a muscle memory I worry that we as a society are on the verge of losing.

I am here, and it’s a testament to poetry’s new accessibility. I am living, editing proof that you don’t need academic credentials to contribute to this form of art. To approach and contemplate and have opinions on it. There is a place here at little infinite for everyone, at every point of a poetry journey. I challenge you to reach out. Connect. Step out of your comfort zone. Explore something new. Dive deep into the language. Have a small adventure. Create.

Support one another as we all try to capture the dizzying magic of life in prose. Let’s open up. Let’s make something remarkable together.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash