Friday, December 18, 2020

The Value of Poetry

by Crystal Bowman

At a writers’ conference several years ago, I sat in a room with a handful of aspiring poets, eager to share the words they had collected from the depths of their souls. As I facilitated this critique group, I was impressed with the variety of themes the poets presented. Some of the poems were serious and metaphoric, while others were inspiring or humorous. Though the poems varied, the poets all had one thing in common—they wanted to make their poetry available to readers. 

After the poets shared their words, I informed them of the harsh reality that most of them already knew—most publishing companies do not publish poetry because it simply doesn’t sell. But just because poetry is not in demand with publishers, that doesn’t mean it can’t find a home. Somewhere between the bookstore shelves and the wastebasket, there is a place for good poetry. 

What is poetry?

Poetry is the creative expression of words from the heart, soul, and mind of the poet. These words may emerge from a painful loss, or the joy of new life. They may chronicle the journey of living with cancer or express the fear of monsters in the closet. Poetry can be praises, prayers, or laments. Poetry can be therapeutic for the writer, but it can also touch the lives of readers. Poetry gives words to emotions that others experience but may not be able to express. 

Share your poetry with friends and family.

Long before I was a published author, my poetry was read by hundreds of people. For many years I penned Christmas poems to include in my Christmas greetings. These poems were not about Aunt Betty’s apple pie or Fido’s rhinestone dog collar (you know what I mean). Rather, they celebrated the wonder and miracle of Christmas when the Word became flesh and lived among us. 

Sometimes my poems were given as birthday, wedding, or anniversary gifts. Friends and relatives began asking me to write poems for special occasions (free of course), and I was happy to oblige.

If you have children or grandchildren, you can write poems for them. Some of my poems are preserved in my children’s baby books, and I am now writing them for my grandkids.

Write poems for church, school, e-newsletters or blogs.

Back in the day when printed newsletters existed, I wrote seasonal poems for a women’s newsletter our church published four times a year. A woman once shared that she would cut out my poems and put them on her refrigerator. A humous poem I wrote about trying to get to Bible study on time was read at a spring brunch with more than 300 women. 

Poems are great fillers for newsletters, and even though many are now e-newsletters, they still have spaces to fill. If you are a blogger for yourself or others, a seasonal or themed poem is often a refreshing change from the 500-word post. Just be sure the content is helpful or encouraging to your reading audience. 

Submit your poetry to online or print magazines.

Many magazines (especially children’s magazines) accept poetry submissions. But do your homework and be sure to follow the writers’ guidelines to increase the chances of your poem being accepted. Study the magazine before you submit to become familiar with its contents. If your poem gets published in a magazine, the readership is far greater than if it is published in a book. I contribute to Clubhouse Jr Magazine which reaches 50,000 households. 


If God has gifted you to write poetry, then be obedient and write it. God can use your words to bless others in ways you cannot imagine, even if they end up on a refrigerator door.

A Poet’s Words

A poet’s words can pierce your soul and bring a smile or tear. 
A poet’s words can offer peace, comfort, hope, and cheer.
A poet’s words can inspire you, or heal a wounded heart.
A poet’s words can draw friends near when they are far apart.
A poet’s words can teach the world to love and give and care.
So thank the Lord for poets, and for the words they share. 


Crystal Bowman is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 100 books for children and four nonfiction books for women. She also writes lyrics for children’s piano music and is a monthly contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine. She loves going to schools to teach kids about poetry. She also speaks at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups and teaches workshops at writers’ conferences. When she is not writing or speaking, she enjoys going for walks, working out at the gym, and eating ice cream. She and her husband live in Michigan and have seven huggable grandkids. 


  1. Very nice post, Crystal. In search of my lane, I've written mostly prose, fiction. But I've also been a regular contributor to 2 area magazines for over 3 years now: both are poetry columns. Contributions to one magazine are poems by a regional poet and a little about the poet. Contributions to the other magazine are my own poems. Although I will be releasing my second collection of poems in 2021, I must say writing a great poem is far more challenging than writing a great article. Jay Wright; South Carolina

  2. Thank you for sharing your insights, Jay, and congratulations on getting your poems published!

  3. Terry, my journey is so different from others. I've always been a storyteller and reader, but it never occurred to me that I could write a book! Then one day, my husband told me to stop looking for a new job and write a book. Immediately, na idea dropped into my mind. I knew God was in this. And so began a long journey to that first book contract, but I wouldn't change a minute of it. I've made lifelong friends in the publishing world.

  4. Was this intended for a different post? (Been there, done that!)

  5. Crystal, I haven't written poetry for quite some time, but I still enjoy reading poetry. Are there books out there of poetry you might share/recommend for gift giving? As odd as I am I do find like-minded oddities who would like a nice book of poetry. Donevy

  6. I read and write children’s poetry so I am sorry that I am out of touch with poetry books for adults.

  7. An encouraging post for those who write poetry. I don't write poetry but I love to read it and enjoy the beautiful word pictures good poets create.

  8. Thanks for the post Crystal....and encouragement. I write a Christmas poem each year and include it in my Christmas card, but this year turned it in to a bookmark and put copies of the bookmark in the cards. I also write other themed poems (Easter, Mothers' Day. Fathers' Day, etc) and poems for special occasions (births, deaths, anniversaries, etc) and gift these to family and friends. My Pastor has shared some of my poetry in his sermons, including my 2020 Christmas poem. Sometimes my writing is for fun and other times I find it therapeutic, especially if I'm going through a tough time.