5 Holiday Poems to Read this Season

It’s a great time of year for themed content. Whether you’re hoping for some Christmas cheer or a great winter aesthetic, the options are endless. There are movies, books, videos, songs, and more. With all of these great options, it can be overwhelming to choose. Like my posts for Halloween, I wanted to highlight some poems that perfectly fit into this time of year. Some you might have never heard before, and others might surprise you. Here are a few great holiday poems to get you into the world of festive poetry.

  1. “A Visit from St. Nicholas”– Clement Clarke Moore

If you are like me, then the title of this poem was not familiar. Once you read the poem itself, however, it becomes one of the most famous stories told at Christmastime. In fact, many people can probably recite some of this poem from memory. Many know “A Visit from St. Nicholas” as it’s more recent name “The Night Before Christmas”. It was first published back in 1823 anonymously in a New York paper. Many argue that this is the origin of the American image of Santa Claus. It’s also a lovely story to tell your family while curled up in front of a fire. If you want a safe way to get your family or friends into the festive spirit, try hosting a cozy get together over zoom and have a reading of this poem! With hot chocolate of course. 

  1. “The Feast of Lights”– Emma Lazarus

This poem by Emma Lazarus tells the story of the Feast of Lights, also known as Hanukkah or Chanukah. Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that spans over eight days and celebrates the restoration of the Temple. This was thanks to the Maccabees, who Lazarus mentions in this poem. She tells the story of their fight against the Syrians to regain control of their Temple and bring the light back to the Jewish world. She also mentions the menorah, which has become one of the famous symbols of Hanukkah. As someone who is not Jewish but is interested in learning more about the history behind Hanukkah, this was a beautiful source of information. You can feel the pride and excitement in this poem that the Jewish people must have felt when they reclaimed their Temple. If this poem has you curious about the Feast of Lights and the history behind it, there’s some great information about the holiday here

  1. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”– Robert Frost 

This poem is not what you would consider festive. Instead, it perfectly captures the feeling of winter. Amidst all of the celebrations, it is still a very dark and cold season. If you find yourself growing tired of the festive season and wishing for some quiet, this poem is perfect for you. It’s atmospheric nature allows you to just stop and be in a moment. This poem holds a special place in my heart because it reminds me of the quiet feeling of watching snow fall in the woods. It reminds you of the beauty of nature, despite its dangerous chill. When you read it, you can almost hear the snow fall and the chill of the air. Also because it is one of my sister’s favorite poems that she loves reciting from memory on cold evenings. It’s by a man whose last name is Frost, which never ceases to entertain my pun-loving brain. This is a poem to read in the midst of a silent, snowy night. 

  1. “[little tree]”– E.E. Cummings

When I first read the title of this poem, it made me think of the tiny Charlie Brown tree. In fact, the first few lines of the poem made me wonder if it was truly a baby tree that would flop over from one ornament. It also reminds me of decorating Christmas trees as a child. Pulling out the bright and sparkling decoration and carefully hanging them on each branch. Of course, that was before I was tall enough. Most of my decorating duties were limited to the gingerbread and popsicle ornaments. The voice of this poem sounds like a child like myself talking to the tree as if it was a person. I love how it sounds like a child comforting something through an event that clearly must be scary. My favorite section is when the speaker says “then when you’re quite dressed/ you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see/ and how they’ll stare! /oh but you’ll be very proud”. I can imagine the scene unfolding through a child’s eyes, which is a great way to view the holiday season. So many things are more exciting and beautiful when we channel our inner child, after all.

  1. “For Christmas Day: Hark the Herald Angels Sing”– Charles Wesley

When I stumbled across this poem in my research, I was surprised to see it. I know this poem well, but not written this way. This is a popular hymn to sing in the Christian church during Christmastime. In fact, it is one of my favorite religious Christmas songs. It celebrates the birth of Jesus and talks about what that means for the community celebrating. The poem’s title and repeating lines also reference the angels who sang in celebration when telling the shepherds of Jesus’ birth. It was written in the 18th century by Charles Wesley, who was a Methodist preacher and brother of John Wesley, of the founders of the Methodist denomination in the U.K. He published this work in a collection of hymns and poems in the late 1730s. If you are someone looking for a Christian poem to read for this season, I recommend this one. You can read it and sing it! 

Have you read any of these poems before? Do you have a favorite festive poem that wasn’t on this list? Let me know in the comments below! I hope that all of you have a safe and happy holiday season. I’ll be back next week to celebrate the last Tuesday of 2020! Aren’t we all glad that is a sentence we can say. I’ll be recapping my book and writing goals for the year, and take a look at the year to come. Until then, happy reading and happy holidays!

5 More Poems to Get You Into the Halloween Spirit

It’s the spookiest week of the year! In a few short days it will be Halloween, the day I take my final spooky form. It is also sadly the last week of spooky season. In honor of this fun time, I’m back with one last week of spooky content. This week we’re continuing with the wonderful world of poetry. It’s part two! This time we have a mixture of poems outright spooky, and those that capture the eerie vibe of the season. 

  1. “To — — –. Ulalume: A Ballad”- Edgar Allen Poe

It’s no surprise that part two of this list features another Poe poem. He is the king of gothic poetry after all! The tale told in this poem has a melancholy and mysterious vibe that is perfect for spooky season. Poe is great at creating the atmosphere  and setting for this poem. By the time he introduces the characters of this poem, you have a vivid idea of the world around them. He is also great at building suspense. You find yourself wondering what happened that night in October. Then, the poem beautifully brings us with the speaker back into the past when he lost his love. It’s a sad but beautiful poem that is worth checking out. If you want to read this poem,  check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. “Windigo”- Louise Erdrich 

This poem’s title is named after the supernatural creature from Native-American folklore. The wendigo is a terrifying creature that is created after a human resorts to cannibalism. It wanders with the eternal hunger for human flesh. This poem is from the perspective of this creature. A fascinating way to build suspense and create the eerie tone that makes this poem so great. It’s also a very interesting glimpse into the lore of the Chippewa tribe. Eridich builds a vivid world within this poem. You can hear the woods and touch the objects described in the poem.  If you want a twist on the eerie side of legendary creatures, check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. “Little Orphant Annie”- James Whitcomb Riley

This poem is a mixture of a nursery rhyme and a Brothers Grimm story. In this tale, an orphan named Annie tells stories to scare the kids of the family who employ her. We have another goblin poem, of course. Goblins are perfect supernatural creatures for the spooky season. This poem is a great example of a poem written phonetically. You can almost hear the speaker’s accent as they remember Annie’s tales and personality. I love this one because, as I said earlier, it reminds me of the Brothers Grimm tales that used to spook me as a child. If you want to dramatically read a spooky poem to a younger sibling or child, this is a perfect option. It is the fun side of spooky, and is fun for all ages! As long as there are night lights nearby, of course. If you want to read this tale to your friends, check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. “The Haunted Wood”- Issac McLellan 

This poem tells the story of a haunted wood, as you could probably guess from the title. It is another poem with a great atmosphere. McLellan even uses language that reminds me of a story that is recited around a campfire on a cool autumn night. He also uses great language to make the world of this poem vivid. This poem gives us a glimpse into the stories of the souls who are buried in the wood. You can hear the echo of these characters as you read on. As a sucker for an atmospheric spooky tale, this is a great poem. If you want to take a trip into the woods, check out the link in the poem’s title. 

  1. “Beyond the Last Lamp”- Thomas Hardy

This list wouldn’t be complete without more ghosts. In this poem, Hardy takes us on a journey down a lane. A lane that brings the speaker to a common sight…or is it? If you could not tell by the rest of this list, I love spooky poems that have a vivid setting that adds to the eerie feeling. A lane itself is not eerie. A lane past the last light during a dark, rainy night adds a new edge to this story. Anyone who has walked in a rainy, dark wood knows how it elevates any normal situation. Add in some specters and you’ve got a poem perfect for the Halloween season. If you want to go down the mysterious lane, check out the link in the poem’s title.

What did you think of these five poems? Are there any spooky poems that you love to read that I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments below! We are just a few days from the spookiest time of year! I hope you are able to celebrate it safely. I recommend having a movie marathon or a spooky reading session. Let me know in the comments what your plans are for this Halloween. Next week starts NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month. In honor of my third year, I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo themed content for the month of November. Join me next week for the start of my 2020 writing adventure and possibly a snarky writer’s woes. Thanks so much for reading and happy Halloween!

5 Poems to Get You Into the Halloween Spirit

It’s spooky season time! If you have read any of my blog posts this month, you’ve probably noticed that I love Halloween. With Halloween, comes a lot of spooky content that is sure to get you into the spirit. Whether you are a movie fan or a book lover, there’s something for you. There’s more than movies and books to get you into the Halloween spirit, though. Throughout history, there’s been enough spooky poems to make even Edgar Allen Poe happy. I’ve found a few that will get you into the spooky spirit!

  1. “The Raven”– Edgar Allen Poe

It wouldn’t be a spooky poetry list without mentioning Mr. Poe at least once. This is one of his most iconic poems. It also includes one of his most iconic lines, where a raven speaks the words “Nevermore”. This is a great poem to check out if you are in a mood for a spooky story. It channels the eerie feeling of a foggy Fall evening. The mood that Poe does so well, and it prevalent in almost all of his poems. If you want to continue down this eerie aesthetic, Poe is the perfect place to start. If you want to read more of this poem, check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. Goblin Market”– Christina Rossetti

“Goblin Market” is a different kind of vibe from “The Raven”. This poem reminds me of old fairy tales like those written down by the Brothers Grimm. There’s a mixture of a seemingly light-hearted character and a dark situation. The poem tells the tale of two sisters who come across a goblin market. It is said that those who eat the fruit of the goblins are never the same, and yet one girl is still tempted to visit these mysterious creatures. If you are a fan of that Grimm vibe and goblins, this is a poem for you. It’s spooky factor falls in the risk of this tale instead of straight horror. Still, it’s worth a read during this season. If you want to take a safe trip to the market of goblins, check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. “Song of the Witches” from Macebeth– William Shakespeare

Like Poe, my list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning this poem from the scottish play. This poem is what people imitate when they pretend to be witches. Shakespeare’s influence can be seen through the witch costumes  and bubbling cauldrons we see on Halloween night. His poem also is a bit more light-hearted compared to the others on this list. Maybe not in the context of the play. Outside of the murder plot, this poem is a fun thing to recite when you’re passing candy to children. Bonus points if you are dressed as a witch. Even if we can’t trick-or-treat this year, you can still enjoy the fun side of Halloween with this poem. If you want to read the full version of this spell, check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. “Mary’s Ghost: A Pathetic Ballad”– Thomas Hood

Now we take a sharp left from more light-hearted to super dark. If you aren’t a fan of bones or graves, turn back now. This poem was written by Thomas Hood in the 1820s. During this time, there was a surge of medical students robbing graves to study anatomy. There were even a few students who decided to make their own corpses. In this tale, Mary is the poor victim of one of these grave robbings. This poem goes a bit into what they have done with poor Mary’s bones through the eyes of her ghost. Her ghost appears to a young William, who has to wake up to all this terrible news. Not a fun way to wake up, I’m sure. This poem has a good mixture of dark Regency era history and a bit of spooky vibes. If you want to take a trip into the darker side of history, check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. “Ghost House”– Robert Frost.

Last but not least, this wonderful poem by Robert Frost. We’ve talked about witches and skeletons, now it’s time to hit on another common symbol of the spooky season; the haunted house. This poem does an awesome job of painting a picture of this decrepit house. It feels like you are walking through an old house full of dust and creaky floorboards. What remains is something that feels eerie in the dark, even if it was once a lovely house. This poem is told from the point of view of a mysterious presence, who may not be alone. It’s an interesting spin on spooky old houses and the ghosts that live within them. If you want to visit this eerie house, check out the link in the poem’s title.

Have you read any of these poems? Is there a poem you love to read during the Halloween season? Let me know in the comments below! I’m sure many of you will be thinking “what about this poem” or “how could she forget this amazing work?” Well friends, I might have a solution for you. This is only part one of my poetry list. It was so hard to narrow it down to five, that it ended up being ten wonderful poems that I had to split up into two parts. In two weeks we’ll be taking another trip to spooky poetry land, so get ready! Any spooky poetry recommendations are still encouraged, of course. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog, and happy reading!

A Journalism Major in a Poetry Class

There are so many different ways to write. But sometimes it’s easy to forget the complexities of these different writing types.  When I started college, my writing experience wasn’t the vastest. It consisted of MLA formatted essays and the beginnings of stories left unfinished. I didn’t step out into the wide writing world until college. I learned APA, how to write press releases, and after a while, poetry writing. In a move that was both scary and exciting, I managed to weasel my way into an English major’s class as a Journalism major. I had pitched it to my advisor as a great way for me to hone my writing skills in case I wanted to be a copywriter. Whatever it takes right? 

Before I took this class, I had mildly ventured out into the world of poetry. When an emotion became too vivid, it was somehow easier for me to channel into poetry than anything else. I even got a few published in my university’s publication. But I didn’t consider myself enough to be a poet. The world of poetry is vast and intimidating, especially for a girl who doesn’t consider herself a writer. Because my poetry wasn’t deep or full of clever author choices, it didn’t feel good enough. Needless to say, my imposter syndrome was pretty high when I walked into my poetry class. 

Thankfully, my professor was encouraging and not at all condescending towards my writing. Which was a blessing to me, because my writing felt juvenile compared to some of the works we were reading. During that time, we kept a journal and had the task of writing a few poems in it a week. As the semester progressed, I felt less perturbed by the blank page when it was time to write. In fact, I sometimes found myself jotting down an idea on my phone to write in the journal later. It was so exciting to feel the current of creativity flowing out of me. Even if my writing wasn’t as “sophisticated” as my classmates’, I was happy with what I had. 

I found that my PR classes helped a lot with my writing instead of hindering it. In a press release, you have to include as much information as possible within a limited word count. Because of this, you have to be strategic when choosing your words. I found this also true when I was writing poetry for class. When you craft a poem, each word you choose matters. It was challenging, but also comforting in its familiarity. I channeled the wisdom I learned from my JMC classes to help me, especially when I was editing my poetry. 

Taking a poetry class also helped my writing skills in my JMC classes. This class allowed me to explore a new writing style that was actually super helpful in my JMC classes. During the time of my poetry class, I was working on a campaign for an advertising competition with my class. The writing experience I got in my poetry class helped me edit the copy for the ads we were pitching. I  discovered that it also helped with my brainstorming process. I guess they both pull from the same pool of creativity! 

In the end, I found my experience in my poetry class to be a big help to my writing and creativity. What about y’all? Have you ever taken a poetry class, and what was the experience like? How did it help out in other parts of your life? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks so much for reading, and happy writing everyone!