Poetry is a beautiful art form that can be very challenging. If you have ever had an interest in writing poetry but find it difficult to start, local poet and educator Emily Vieweg can provide insight.
The Fargo-based poet had passion for poetry all her life when she started reading at age 3. At 9-years-old, she wrote her first story called “The Truth about Santa Clause.” ”I’ve always felt like I needed to write,” Vieweg says.
Over the span of her career, Vieweg has written dozens of poems and has received an Individual Arts Partnership grant from The Arts Partnership the last two years. Her work has been published in “Foliate Oak,” “The Voices Project,” “Red Weather Literary Magazine,” “Soundings Review,” “Art Young’s Good Morning,” “The Basil O’Flaherty Feminist Voices” and many more. Her most recent accomplishment is winning Best Performance Work for her piece “Vision” from the North Dakota Human Rights Festival.
But her road to becoming a published poet hasn’t always been easy. When she was in college, Vieweg was told by an instructor, “I don’t know why you bother writing because this is trash.”
Vieweg was discouraged to write for ten years until her mother inspired her to take a poetry class. Her instructor changed her entire perspective on writing poetry.
“Finding one positive thing in a very bad poem” was all it took, Vieweg says.
Vieweg finds inspiration in everyday tasks and from life experiences. Vieweg wrote a poem called “Bipolar Is” where she explains how it feels to have bipolar disorder.
“Giving words to the feelings made it more powerful,” Vieweg says.
She looks up to Dr. Seuss, her favorite poet of all time. “The Sneeches” by Dr. Seuss is also her favorite childhood poem. She loves that Dr.Seuss creates words, language, and character just from the 26 letters in the alphabet. “The poetry that comes out of it is just fantastic, he is so much fun!” Vieweg says.
She also is inspired by two new poets, Kaveh Akbar and Jericho Brown, who she met last year at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference. Vieweg felt like an “Elvis fangirl” when meeting them.
As a poet myself, Vieweg offered me great advice about the art of creating poetry and explained to me that a poem is a “living thing.”
“When your poem is out in the world, it doesn’t belong to you anymore,” she says.
This advice was helpful because not only am I benefiting from the poem but I am contributing a greater service to the world.
She urges inspiring poets like myself to “just keep writing, no matter how someone criticizes your work,” she says. “You have a voice, someone is listening, and it takes time and hard work but you have to be okay with rejection,” she adds.
Moving forward, Vieweg would love to teach poetry in a workshop or at the college level, and continue to publish new works.
If you are inspired to start writing poetry, follow Vieweg’s advice to “find the beauty in the mundane, because there’s always something interesting about everything.”
Emily Vieweg’s new full-length poetry collection “But the Flames” will be published soon. Keep an eye out for more information at emilyvieweg.com!
Photos are courtesy of TwinFlame Visuals.