I have been writing for awhile and decided to write a memoir, except I can’t seem to write anything but poetry. However, I don’t know for sure if poetry is the proper term. My work uses cuss words, & sometimes slang, similar to some spoken word or slam. I haven’t been working on the memoir at all but I think it’s because I’m not sure what to do with all the “poems” I’ve written & still write. It seems to happen everyday where I’m in a certain mood & end up writing something beautiful about my life and love, or terrible about drug addiction & mental illness. I think I’m pretty good & the few who have heard or read agree. I have a tumblr & online portfolio if you guys are interested in seeing what I’m talking about just let me know .

I guess my questions are what to do with these words I call poems, & are there any sites that accept rhyme poetry on personal experiences, mental illness etc.

Thanks!

  • i guess my questions are what to do with these words i call poems, & are there any sites that accept rhyme poetry on personal experiences, mental illness etc. – user33502 Oct 12 at 10:25
  • 1
    Welcome to Writing.SE! Please take a look at our tour and help center pages, they can help you understand better how our site functions. Generally, the question you wish to ask should be in the question, not in a comment to the question. I've edited it in for you. Feel free to edit further if you feel additional clarification is needed. – Galastel Oct 12 at 11:58
  • Know any musicians? Maybe team up with someone and start a group. – CrossRoads Oct 12 at 17:24
  • Missed an opportunity there – Thomo Oct 17 at 5:09

So you want to write the story of your life, but are more comfortable with verse than with prose? Why not think of it as a strength rather than a weakness? You're expressing your life in verse, right? Then why not take that verse, arrange it in a way that makes sense, add a couple of sentences to connect the disparate bits, and voila, you've got a memoir in verse.

A more general form of this advice would be work to your strengths. There's something you do well, and enjoy doing. Why not make that the centrepiece of your work?

Back before written language became common, nearly all long literature was in verse because it was the only way people could remember it. And as recently as a hundred years ago, it was still common for people to write long epic narrative poems.

Even today, it's it's unusual, but not unheard of to have longer narrative works in verse. One famous recent example is Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish (a novel by...). However, something much closer to what you have in mind might be the famous "choreopoem," "for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf", which is generally staged as a play, but which is also available as a stand-alone "novel." I don't have examples at hand, but I've seen more than one recent young adult novel written as a collection of poems, generally using current slang and styles --so it is possible to publish successfully in that format.

Your best bet, at this point --as for most poets! --would be to find a local community that appreciates and supports the type of art you produce (most larger communities have at least one --if yours doesn't, you might have to start your own). Poetry is a performance art at heart, so it thrives on that direct audience connection (particularly for slam poetry). If you are successful in that context, it will give you a platform towards finding a larger audience.

You might consider starting a blog and posting your work there. After a while, maybe look for some anthologies accepting submissions (there are many that benefit charities and will have themes like mental illness, as well as others that might work for you).

(My first answer ever, so likely I'm doing it wrong. Sorry.)

You must've noticed, in the life you'll write about, that you're not alone. Others f'sure must've gone your way before, going it right now. Read or listen to what they've written, said, sung, to get some hints what to do or not to do. The thing you don't want is for them to come back from the grave saying, "Hey, you stole my stuff."

You wrote this question (edited by Galasteel) without rhyming. If you want to do that in your other work, leverage the mindset you had when posting here as you write other works.

I'm voting up @ChrisSunami's answer but also want to mention two sites that you might find helpful. I'm not associated with either except as a user, but I tend to mention them a lot. Duotrope is a great site for finding markets where you can submit your work. You can search on genre (such as narrative poetry) and other criteria. Scribophile is a great site for getting useful feedback for your poems (the only caveat is that you have to critique other people's work to get points to post your own stuff). They also have forums. One of the benefits of Scribophile is that it is a members-only view for your work, so most journals will not consider anything posted there as previously published. Posting a poem to a more open site will likely make your poem ineligible for getting published elsewhere, if that is a concern. The biggest thing is to find feedback from folks you can trust. Most poets need to go beyond that purging on paper and edit their work. That can make all the difference. Good luck!

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