poetry writing topics

poetry writing topics

Exploring the Art of Poetry Writing

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1. Introduction to Poetry Writing

It is less easily intelligible than most practical forms, but it may change the world with a single poem that is layered, powerful and absolutely unique in the message it expresses. Poetry writers may display a range of styles, but here is a basic structure to help get you started. Each day you need to concentrate on creativity for at least half an hour. Write poetry every day, and read poetry regularly. Keep your best work, as one day it will be a treasured well of creativity and a reference for years to come. Try to get feedback on what you write. Ask others how your poem makes them feel. While you may have different objectives, it is useful to hear what the actual reader takes from your poem. Read other accomplished poems, as they can also improve your poetry writing. Look at the poems of noted authors and try to work out why you like specific phrases, verses, or poems.

Finally, poetry writing is not a separate art. It requires no specialized equipment, young users or operators. All it asks for in a word-shaper is the development of a superior set of skills. Good writers of poetry also lead the reader through several different levels of meaning, purely by the power of the language itself. Behind poetry lie layers of symbolism and richer expression that the good writer of poetry presents. Good writing turns the wheels of the world we know, invisibly and predictably. However, great writing uses language to extend these known boundaries, to bring beauty, color, and meaning to humanity. That is where poetry rules as king of expression.

2. Understanding the Elements of Poetry

Writing well, ultimately, is a matter of manipulating words for maximal emotional impact. Writing poetry is the name of an especially precise method of insisting on such manipulation. Other forms of creative writing are closely related, using the same linguistic strengths – along with additional structural features. Poetry distinguishes itself from other forms of writing by the pervasive and continuous use of all the available features in all of the possibly useful ways. Yet, the essence of poetry writing is the same as with other forms: we wish to convince the reader that what has been written is more than the sum of its words and their most obvious meanings. With poetry, we wish to convince the reader of the non-obviousness of the words – and to do this in such a way that the poem’s organization contributes the most, not the least, to the reader’s experience.

Good poetry is often the name of a poetry of which it is difficult for intelligent and highly literate people to write well. Discussing the standards for distinguishing between good and bad poetry exemplifies an ongoing debate that is perhaps as old as any debate we have about the art of writing. We debate where we do. In exploring a particular approach to teaching people to write poetry, my goal is to reinforce some of the more fundamental abilities that underlie much of the writing – whether it is impromptu poetry or the poetry of well-known bards. Ultimately, the various assignments that enforce readings also teach. We aim to enable poetry writers to write well by laying emphasis on the elements of poetry that do regardless of their styles, subgroups, moods, and genres either formally or informally.

3. Techniques and Forms in Poetry Writing

Broadly speaking, form in poetry refers to many other aspects aside from the physical form that has been considered here. Form regards meter and rhythm, and patterns of repetition such as a rhyme scheme or refrain. Moreover, form may involve the “architecture” of a line, the specific ways in which lines are broken, or the ways in which poems are built to create a sense of space and movement. Form in poetry is not something to be scoffed at, largely because form matters in poetry. Writers who are serious about poetry must reckon with this magnificent heritage because form is not just an archaic constraint. Poetic form is the very essence of poetry, giving the art its electric charge, with the words themselves mere currency. Form is how folks know they are reading poetry. It is the life force of poetry and also what distinguishes poetry from prose.

Arguably, it is much harder to write good poetry than it is to compose a song. It takes a refined sensibility, discipline in language, and an investment in music, not to mention ideas and innuendo. Although in theory, poetry writing is an expression of feelings, it takes care and patience to put them down onto paper. The pride of a poet is in being able to convey strong emotions using few words but with artistic flair. When writing poetry, form immediately presents itself as an interesting aspect of poetic literature. Traditional and well-worn forms such as sonnet, sestina, haiku, or tanka, for example, offer their own constraints and demands. But a poet is not bound by forms and rules, and free verse offers quite a lot of room for creativity and imagination.

Not as easy as it sounds: Techniques and forms in poetry writing.

4. Finding Inspiration and Developing a Unique Voice

By availing oneself of the company of fellow writers and an esteemed teacher, excellent work not produced can become the foundation for an earned humility, shaking the building foundations of earlier aspirations to greatness. After all, only narcissistic bores enjoy the company of braggarts, yes? Many would say that they are too humble to claim to have found themselves. Yet the opposite view can also be heard: that to locate and express one’s own needs and meaning is to find oneself. Writing itself is a process of becoming as well as a process of finding what is there. Writing can be seen as an act of self-expression and an act of self-questioning. At best it puts into text both the ‘I am’ and the ‘over-against-it.’ It gives us the poet in the poet. (Alternatively, of course, it shows us Phil in the saddest coffee shop in town.)

So, where do you come up with ideas for your poems? You will see in Chapter 7, as well as throughout this book, that ideas for poems are developed as part of the process of writing. Almost any observation about the world will do. When the mind is attuned to what is seen, sounds and ideas tumble forth. This is one of the many reasons that receiving comments from others when workshopping is so essential to the development of a poet. Poets must repeatedly be reminded of their own best virtues by someone with a sympathetic ear. The ear of a reader can be tuned to hear more in a writer’s poem than the poet himself up to the moment of its publication.

5. Workshopping and Revising Your Poetry

One of the best things about writing poetry is when poets gather to help one another become better poets. Revising poems is a time to take a gentle approach, and to approach your peers with kind guidance. If the writer feels beaten up, they will not be as open to suggestion. That’s why the poet is giving his/her feelings and emotions away by reading a poem. They need defend the poem at first. They do not need to protect themselves, only the poem. They also need to tell us what they are trying to convey. What measures of the poem are they happy with? Which ones are causing them pain? The last part of the equation comes from the workshop attendees. You are all that writer has. Your comments are what help them decide if and what should work on in the poem. It is a tender process.

The hardest thing to do when writing a poem is revising it. In some respects, writing the poem is the easy part. The poem is new, fresh, and full of promise. In our mind, our poem is perfect. Perhaps it is in this regard that poetry differs most from the other genres (prose and drama). A novelist has a 300-400 page journey to travel alongside their characters. A poet has around 20 lines. Everything must be just so. There is nowhere to hide, no margin for error. But every poem, no matter how gifted the poet, arrives full of faults. At first, we can be pessimistic. But we must also remain optimistic, or we will quickly give up.

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