Some Thoughts on Poetry

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Why do I read it?

  1. For the love of word play, rich language, words used in original and thought-provoking ways, the way poems are structured, the way they read rhythmically (especially when read aloud)
  2. Some poems make me laugh and think and feel
  3. All poems inspire me to be more creative
  4. Poems teach me that everyone has their own voice, even if they all wrote on the same subjects
  5. To see how other poets have shaped their poems, to study the rhythms, the language use, how they begin and develop and end (to help me become a better poet)
  6. The best poems remind me not to be ordinary in my own writing.


What do I read?

1, Lyrical poetry by poets such as those by Pablo Neruda, Max Williams, Margaret Atwood, Kate Llwellyn, Rodney Hall, Garth Madsen, Jorie Albinson, Sylvia Plath, Galway Kinnell, Ann Sexton.

Ann Bell & Colleen Burke are two Australian poets who write lyrical poetry suitable for children that I love to read. Overseas poets whose lyrical poetry I love include Walter De La Mare, Valerie Worth, James Stephens and Rachel Field.

2. I read poems for enjoyment, because they make me laugh and often make me see the world in an original way, and because they often express exactly how I feel. Children’s poets whose writing I enjoy include Bill Condon, Elizabeth Honey, Max Fatchen, Doug McLeod, Steven Herrick, Lorraine Marwood (all Australian), Colin McNaughton, Jack Prelutsky, Roger McGough, Michael Rosen, Spike Milligan, Shel Silverstein et al.

3. Anthologies: a. recognise poets whose work I enjoy, themes which interest me, variety of styles and subjects, because of the artwork, because I recognise the compiler and know he/she is skilled (for example John Foster, Pie Corbett, Kenn Nesbitt, Graham Denton).

4. Song lyrics, verse on packages, graffiti,


Further Observations:

I hate reading poems which I can’t understand, usually because the poet has tried to be super-smart – and failed!

I have favourite individual poems and collect them, paste them into books and often re-read them (I sometimes accompany the poems with appropriate illustrations, including photos). In a special notebook, I also write poetic words and phrases which touch some part of me.

I love writing poems, especially for particularly people to celebrate events in their lives or to celebrate that those people are in my life, and also because writing poems helps me express my feelings and thoughts

© Dianne (Di) Bates

Di Bates is the compiler of Our Home is Dirt by Sea, a collection of children’s poems by Australian poets, to be published in 2016 by Walker Books Australia.

NOTE: If you would like to share your thoughts and feelings about reading and/or writing poetry, send them to for publication in this blog. Don’t forget to include a biography.

One thought on “Some Thoughts on Poetry

  1. Thanks Di. I really enjoy getting the poem of the day for all the reasons you mentioned – and especially the way you articulated point 6 – poems certainly are an encouragement to inspire extraordinary in my own writing 🙂

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