As a teen, I published my first book. It was a book of the most painfully bad and emotional poetry that, thankfully, few have (or will ever have) seen. Yet, having re-discovered a copy recently, I realize how important it was to my path. That the seed of selling my writing — that one really could do such — was planted. That, even if not perfect (or even really that good), people who want to support you, your work, your further development, are out there. They are paying as much for the poetry now as the poetry they know could come.

I love good poetry. I, thankfully, live in a city where poetry is respected. Thanks to an active sidewalk poetry program, I encounter it unexpectedly and often walking the streets. I encounter it at bookstores and stenciled on walls. I sometimes see it on bus stop posters. I even spot the occasional and unintentional haiku in a sign or flyer.

Though I write poetry much less these days, and share it even less than that, I still find that it often stops me in my tracks. When very good or, especially, when unexpected it has the power to change me. To change my notions about the world or even those I know. To stop me in my tracks and shift my direction. Any good writing can do this, yes. But a good poem can get to places inside you no other words can.