Ars Poetica

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.