How to start a Poetry Journal

“The tide rises”

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The tide rises, the tide falls,

The twilight darkens, the curfew calls;

Along the sea-sands damp and brown

The traveler hastens toward the town,

And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Darkness settles on roofs and walls,

But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls,

The little waves, with their soft, white hands,

Eface the footprints in the sands,

And the tide rises, the tide falls.

The morning breaks; the stress in their stalls

Stamp and neighbors as the hostler calls;

The day returns, but never more

Returns the traveler to the shore,

And the tide rises, the tide falls.”

……….          ……….          ……….          ……….          ………….

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Like all journals, the writing in it is more important than the outside but how do you start a Poetry Journal? If you want to draw pictures or doodle around your poetry, you need a book with blank pages. On the other hand, if you need to keep your words in order you need a journal with lines such as a spiral-bound journal.

The biggest challenge is organization. You could divide your journal in several different ways::

Emotions -joy, anger, sorrow, humility, pride

Seasons and holidays


Poetic form (limericks, sonnet etc.

Subject – friends, nature etc.

Next week some samples of covers and pages.


A Lovely Day

Actually I couldn’t say

What made this such a lovely day.

The air was chill, the clouds hung low,

Yet it was lovely – that I know.

Perhaps it was because someone

Smiled my way and brought the sun;

Maybe it was only that

A friend stopped by for a little chat;

Or that a neighbor passing by

Called a warm and friendly “hi!”

Possibly its special glow

Came from helping one I know –

Not much really just a hand

To let him know I understand.

Nothing happened, actually

To set this day apart for me.

Things went along the usual way –

But oh, it’s been a lovely day!

By Helen Marshall

The road you take

May the road you take along life’s way

Lead onward, upward, every day;

When you reach crossroads, like pilgrims of old

May you have vision to see, to behold

The road which leads to the evening star…

To horizons afar.

May you find courage when the day is long,

And in your heart may there be a song;

May you have faith to carry you through;

“To thine own self, May you ever be true;

May you find joy in lifting the load

Others are carrying along life’s road.

By Clara Reber

What is poetry?

Dear Fellow Journalers,

I recognized the untitled book when I was cleaning out an old desk in the attic. It had been almost 50 years, but I knew what it was even before I opened the first page. Memories surged through me as I sat down to read the poetry journal written by a young idealistic and romantic teen –Me!  Many of the poems were collected in high school, some in college and some just before I was married.

What is poetry and why does it stir the heart?

There are two definitions of this genre -one is noteworthy of a “Jeopardy” question and the other is akin to what, I suspect, we all feel. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary states that a poem is “a composition in verse” and Joan Walsh Anglund says that “poetry is the silent singing each man sings within his own heart.”

There are 50 – yup, you read that right – 50 types of poems. Some of these are familiar: Haiku, free verse, Epic, ballad, sonnet, acrostic, Elegy, limerick, ode, and visual. Some of the types I never heard of: sound, senryu, rhyme royal, and pastoral. (Walt Whitman??)

My poetry journal, as written all those years ago, has 50 poems in it. I will share some with you over the next few weeks. Next week we’ll talk about keeping a Poetry Journal.


“By any other name”

By Helen Marshall

To seek the heights and depths of thought

And pause in silence there;

Some call it meditation –

I like to call it prayer.

To look out on the troubled world

And find the true and fair;

Some call it contemplation –

I like to call it prayer.

To give oneself for others,

To lift and love and share,

Some call it consecration –

I like to call it prayer.

To sense a silent, reverent awe

At beauty everywhere;

Some call it adoration –

I like to call it prayer.”


“No book can teach us self,

It is a hidden language only the heart can read.

Joan Walsh Anglund




February 2023

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