I have read this term before, but it wasn’t until last night that I got to learn more about it. It was our last class with Georgia Heard in this series of classes. She taught us that Ars Poetica is a term for a poem that is a meditation on the art of poetry, the poet’s beliefs about poetry, where poems are found, or what poetry could be in an individual’s life. This form of poetry dates back to Horace in 65 B.C.E. and has been part of poetic literature ever since. We read Ars Poetica by Pablo Neruda, Lucille Clifton, Jose Olivares, and Georgia Heard.

I am a beginner on this road; a novice at poetic forms and techniques; an emerging reader and writer of poems. I’m enjoying being a learner and am trying new things in my writing. This community has contributed to my having courage to do this.

Georgia gave us an exercise which I will share. Perhaps your students would take these questions and create something truly wonderful.

  • What kind of animal is your inner poet?
  • Who does your inner poet speak to?
  • What does your inner poet say?

In our group, these were the animals chosen: lion, spider, wolf, owl, haw, doe, deer, sparrow, striped bumblebee, and hummingbird. It was remarkable that there was so much variety. We did it as a quick write in the moment. Here is what I wrote last night. It is a DRAFT, at best, but I share it to give you an idea of something you might try.

Ars Poetica

My inner poet is a great blue heron
standing still in hidden wetlands.

It speaks to the tides flowing in and out.
It speaks to quiet souls who weep.

It says, Be patient.
Wait for the miracle. Watch and wait.

Thank you to all at Two Writing Teachers who support teacher-writers in growing as writers.

11 thoughts on “Ars Poetica

  1. Wow, a class with Georgia Heard! I bet you have learned so much. Your poem is beautiful. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you through Time to Write and through reading your writing. Your poem is a wonderful expression of your sweet soul.

  2. Thank you for sharing this, Marilyn. I was so sad to have missed this class and plan to do her next one. This form is new to me, and I plan to try this exercise soon for poetry month. Your words, written and spoken, inspire me every day. I feel as though you are my kindred writer and friend. I feel honored to be on this writing journey with you.

  3. Your poem is beautiful. I think many of us are late arrivals to writing poetry. I began in March, 2018. Did you also read Archibald Macleash’s “Ars Poetica”? I love all the poets you’ve named.

  4. This poem is short but so beautiful. I love this meditation on your poetry Marilyn. I could so vividly picture the heron in the middle of the water and it’s movements mirroring that of the methodical approach to poetry you must take. I want to try out this form and your questions shared from the group are very helpful. Thank you for sharing it!

  5. This is amazing. You know, I knew that there were poems about poets and poetry, but I had never stopped to consider that they might be their own form. You’re inspiring me to learn more and to give this a try myself. Your last line: “Wait for the miracle. Watch and wait.” It speaks to me – isn’t this, after all, what we often must do when it comes to poetry? Wait for its wonders to reveal themselves? Thanks so much for this post, and for the inspiration.

  6. Marilyn – you WOW me again!!! I love that in retirement you are still learning. And so smart to learn from the best – Georgia Heard! Your slice so thoughtfully teaches me about this form. Then you bravely share your draft. And the best part, you leave me, the reader, thinking and ready to grab my pen and give it a try! The sign of a true teacher! So glad we are writers still learning. I hope you are free on April 11th to come celebrate safely at Lacey Wood Park (see email invite). Congrates on another great March!!

  7. So much in 6 spare lines- like a haiku. thank you for sharing the concept. What spirit animal is my inner poet? I am so intrigued knowing that yo have been working so diligently on your poetry writing, here and in other arenas. And also slicing, with such lovely moments in the heart of a mother and grandmother. As always, I love following your writing, Marilyn.

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