Get your poet on!

By Cate Masters

April is National Poetry Month! I had no idea until this email from Gotham Writer’s Workshop. Though late, you can sign up for National Poetry Month’s Poem a Day at Past offerings are archived.

Myself, I receive a poem a day year round through NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, which also has cool facts associated with the date.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has the right idea by showcasing seven local poets. Hear them read their works here. had a cool idea for Poem in Your Pocket Day, to be held April 29th. Coworkers might not be receptive to shared poems, but other ideas include:
- Distribute bookmarks with your favorite immortal lines
- Add a poem to your email footer
- Post a poem on your blog or social networking page
- Project a poem on a wall, inside or out
- Text a poem to friends

Think poetry is low tech? Think again. even has Poem Flow for iPhones: “A veritable box of light with words and thought in fluid motion.” It’s true that inspiration can come from anything, I suppose.

And Billy Collins has posted some animated poems on You Tube (but disabled the embedding, so you have to click on the link, sorry) -- among them, Forgetfulness and The Dead Maybe to entice younger generations to the medium? Hopefully.

I began writing poetry at the tender age of ten (well, I thought they were song lyrics at the time – the girl band thing that never was). I was lucky to have several very cool friends who also wrote poetry, so we collaborated and exchanged poems. Yes, some were laughable. But I still have them all in a binder, and I treasure them. In poetry, I found an emotional release, a means to interpret my feelings in an understandable manner, and the beginning of a writer’s voice.

Like short stories, poetry is great for sharpening your writing skills. Poetry demands precise language to convey images and ideas. I highly recommend Frances Mayes’ The Discovery of Poetry for any writer. I have many favorite poets, but recently discovered Barbara Hamby, whose poetry is like entering another dimension. It takes me right out of the present to an amazing place.

I credit poetry for leading me to fiction, though sometimes I fall back into writing poems when deeply moved. In February, Little Episodes published one of my poems in a fundraising anthology. Little Episodes’ aim is to “the arts as a platform to raise awareness for people who suffer from depression, addiction or mental illness.” I donated the poem when I learned of their cause, having lost two cousins to suicide during my teens.

I also included several of my poems in my upcoming release, Fever Dreams, due May 7 from Eternal Press. Don’t worry, they’re later poems, not written when I was an angst-ridden teen. :) They fit nicely because the story’s hero’s infatuated with the heroine, and his emotions pour out in his poems. Unlike me, his go on to become song lyrics. Sometimes we must live vicariously through our characters, I guess.

In celebration of the release, I’ll give away a PDF copy to someone who comments on this Popculturedivas post before May 7. If you want, share a favorite poet with us – is there someone who can move you, take you away from reality with just a few lines of prose?

I’ll announce the winner on my blog at on May 7. More giveaways will be coming up, so follow my blog if you’re interested.

This week, if you sign up to follow my blog and email me before Saturday, you could also receive a PDF of Design for Life, released by The Wild Rose Press in February. A reviewer said: "Ok, So I'm a softy and I love a story that gets me a warm and mushy inside and this one totally did it. I LOVE Ms Master's ability to make me feel the ups and downs along with the characters. It makes for a really good read." (I love that reviewer!)

Below is the book trailer for Fever Dreams, with incredible guitar music from my talented nephew, Fred Bair:

Cate Masters writes fantasy/dark fantasy, historical, contemporary and speculative fiction, described by reviewers as “so compelling, I did not want to put it down,” “such romantic tales that really touch your soul,” “filled with action scenes which made it a riveting story,” and “the author weaves a great tale with a creative way of using words that makes the story refreshing to read.” Visit Cate online at, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.


  1. As always, a fab blog post Cate. I'd love to write poetry, but alas, it escapes me! So I stick to reading it instead.

  2. I also started writing poetry as a child, Cate - as soon as I learned how to string words together, I couldn't help myself. I post a new poem every Monday on my blog as part of the Monday Poetry Train. You can check out my poetry archives HERE.

    I'm in awe of the online poets who are busy posting a poem a day for this National Poetry Month. You can check that out over at Read Write Poem.

    Congratulations on Fever Dreams!

  3. I love poetry! And I LOVE your cover and your trailer. I hope I win so I can read! :)

  4. Thanks so much Margaret! Reading poetry's a worthwhile activity - it always revs my brain. :)

  5. I was the same way Julia! I miss writing it. Thanks for the link to Poetry Train, I'd love to check it out. I feel I'm always a step behind on everything, so I'm glad for archives. :)
    Thanks for your good wishes!

  6. Thanks for your kind words Tami! If you're interested, don't forget to follow my blog and leave a comment at for a chance to win Design for Life too!

  7. iI really enjoyed your post and look forward to reading Fever Dreams. Your nephews guitar playing really is excellent.Very compelling. As a child I fooled around with poetry but now I just enjoy reading other people's Poetry. :)
    Carol L.

  8. I loved the book trailer and the music was wonderful.

    I'm neither talented nor creative so I don't write poetry but I've always enjoyed Rober Frost's works.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  9. Thanks so much Carol! I will pass along the compliment to my nephew, who needs much encouragement despite his talents. :)

  10. Thanks for the lovely compliment, Tracey! And I think it requires creativity just to read poetry, which is more dense and sometimes contains metaphors or other devices to make us think harder. :)

  11. I knew it was poem writing month because I ran across it on another blog, but I was too busy with taxes to worry about it. Pity, too, since I post poetry on Friday fairly often.

  12. I haven't really had time to explore it much either this month, unfortunately. I'll have to check out your Friday poetry!

  13. Love the trailer!!

    Fascinating stuff about poetry too, Cate! Although the right poem can sway me, I think I'm too literal-minded to really enjoy poetry. *sigh* Though I'm very much into song lyrics, so there's that.

    Here's one poem that really hits me though:

    Do you think that plants pray,
    "Please send down some rain today,"
    or, "Now I lay me down to sleep,
    protect my mother and father leaves"?
    Sometimes when I walk across the room,
    I almost hear an inaudible cry
    and remember that the geranium plant is dry,
    and I wonder,
    who waters me?
    by Jane Roberts

    Great blog, as always, Cate!!


  14. Cate I loved this! I'm going to check out those links. How cool to get a poem e-mailed to you every day. ;) Normally I'll just go online or to the library to peruse what I like. Lately I've been re-reading the poetry of Mary di Michele - an Italian Canadian poet/writer who has written a lot about the immigrant experience/Italy/displacement/childhood/womanhood. I think you're right - poetry demands a certain precise language - whenever I dabble in it (usually post it on my tumblr blog) i find it a difficult process but an engaging exercise. Cheers!

  15. Thanks for sharing those poets, Chiron and Jojo! I always love finding new ones.
    Poetry is a little more demanding, but it forces my brain, anyway, to twist in directions it wouldn't otherwise, which opens up new ways of thinking about things.

  16. Feel free to spread the word about the contest, too! It's open till May 7. Release day, yay!

  17. I enjoyed the post. I'm not into poetry so I don't have a favorite.

  18. It's not for everyone, although maybe you haven't found one that will speak to your soul - yet. :)
    Thanks for stopping by, Andrea!


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