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'Things that Happen' Poems

Updated: Jan 26, 2023

I was out and about in the internet world, looking for places to submit work to (just got declined from Trampset D: ) and I came across Diane Payne's "Things that Happen in the Rain."

Lovely poem, full of emotion and straight forward scenes. It's easy to see why it was published.

You'll notice literary magazines always tell you to read the work they've published in the past to see what they're interested in, so I figured I would try to create some poems along the theme of 'Things that Happen.'

I started by thinking of events that happened that were important to me:

-Birthdays: The first birthday after my mother gave up guardianship of me, 13th or 14th birthday I was kicked out of the house and shipped off to my father I hadn't seen or heard from in seven years, the birthday that wasn't celebrated at all, etc.. (Side note: this also got me very into birthday cakes and analyzing why that's all I ever want on my birthday.) -Thursday Nights: Laundry, Teacher training, Tambik chicken (These are good small things to show snowballing into something big.)

-Things that Happen to Books in My Closet: Thrown away while I'm at school, Held over me while I'm questioned if I study witchcraft, That one book I tossed in the closet hoping it would disappear much like the title seemed to suggest I should, Torn garage sale textbooks my mother bought before pulling me out of school to be 'home schooled,' etc..

-Things that Happen in the Expat Bar

-Things that Happening while Teaching English at a University in China

-Things that Happen in Cars

...As I wrote this, I came up with three new lists, unlisted. It's a great activity to get you thinking about things to write about. Remember, a poem is supposed to move in some way, most often changing from the mundane to some deeper truth or hidden meaning.

Also, poems don't have to be non-fiction. Take that Thursday Nights category as an example. You can take mundane daily activities and a new reasoning behind them or twist that isn't real. Poetry can be fiction too.

There's so many lists you can make! In my search for more 'Things that Happen' poems, I came across "Things That Happened During Petsitting That I Remind Myself Are Not Metaphors for My Heart" by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz, which I also quite like. There were a few others I found, but I have to say that the two mentioned in this blog are my favorites.

I've been trying out the numbering method seen in Payne's poem as well, as I noticed I don't often write in that format. It's been an interesting experiment, though I don't feel completely successful at it yet.

These 'Things that Happen' style poems are the poems I am going to be writing this month, though i won't be forcing myself to stick to the style if they happen to evolve into something else! It doesn't matter if they stay in that style, all that matters is that they get written!

Hopefully this inspires you to do something similar and create some new work! Best of luck! I'm going to finish up and go try making pottery!

To check out what I'm writing: Drone Girl: (Hiatus)

Where Nightmares Roam:

To support the author (me!):

My Patreon:

Some photos of what I've been up to (Spoiler: Eating):

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