I have been writing poetry since I was in first or second grade. (In fact, I'll put my first poem here, for memory's sake.)
All throughout my childhood and up until age 17, I wrote prolifically. Poetry writing and writing in general was a central part of my existence, and I filled several notebooks with poetry (in addition to filling dozens of journals).
This all came to an abrupt end when I took an English class in Touro College in my first year out of high school. The class was titled "17th Century English Literature" and reviewed poets such as John Donne, Ben Johnson, Richard Lovelace, and George Herbert. I ended the class knowing that compared to these skilled masters whose poetry comprised a strict syllable structure, original word choice, excellent rhyming, and meaningful content, my flaccid, freestyle, non-rhyming, and often nonsensical poems were child's play (literally).
I stopped writing poetry and didn't start writing again until a decade later.
In the interim, I completed college with a degree in English - technical writing, unexpectedly enough (and psychology and Judaic studies), got married, had two children, started working, moved cross-continent and country, and expended a tremendous amount of energy into a non-profit close to my heart. Not necessarily in that order.
But I only wrote a few half hearted poems through those years. I knew I wasn't good enough, and with the great poems of John Donne and Andrew Marvell before me, I didn't want to produce anything that would bring dishonor on myself, my family, or my cow.
Then at 26, I had what I will call a Muse moment. My poet's pen was wakened after nearly a decade of dormancy. I wrote a series of poems. My good friend and best critic validated their quality, and thenceforth, the spring was gushing again. Or at least flowing.
I find myself able to create poems I can be proud of: poems that have consistent syllable counts, and which I am constantly revising to flow in synchronous stressed and unstressed harmony while matching natural speech patterns. I normally write a poem fairly quickly with minimal revision. I let it sit for a day or two, and when I type it out for the website, make some revisions for better syllable count, stress patterns, and word choice. I can sometimes refine a poem upon my next few visits as well.
I am thrilled with this development and grateful that years of poetry reading, thinking, feeling, and maturing have all converged to finally allow me to start writing again.