Posts Tagged ‘advice’

This is some advice I’ve received about writing poetry. I’m just relaying it:

  1. Concrete images trump metaphorical or abstract concepts. “Red grit bricks” trump “the voice of God,” “calloused knuckles” is better than “soul.” No one knows what a soul looks like. Concrete images are usually examined under the lens of metaphor anyway.
  2. It takes years to cultivate your voice. Try new and different things. Try traditional forms. Experiment with perspective and tone. Stay on things for a while. Try writing lists for a month, then try sonnets, and then try love poems.
  3. Write early in the day, or late at night. What you think is great in a moment may turn out to be crap later. Come back hours later and look at what you’ve written. Keep what you like. Cut what you don’t like. Don’t just try to change it. Get rid of it.
  4. Your heart is the center of your poetry. Get in touch with that, and let it pour out. You have time to rein it in later.

Happy writing. 🙂

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Caught between lovers,

cat fights, heartbreak.

Caught in that grey area

where clarity comes

naturally, and wisdom flows

out like ink from a pen.

And it shifts, revolves.

The position is temporary.

Every friend is a middle man,

listening to stories- and nodding,

giving advice- not knowing

what is the wholly right thing to say,

opening and reading the pages

of their companion’s autobiography.

At the same time,

opening mouths wide

to flash white teeth in ecstasy,

cradling themselves

in the corner of a room

while listening to sad music,

and

writing their own stories.

A few things I’ve learned from other poets and my own experience:

  • Experiment with form and style– try new things, and find which fits best with which poem. There’s also nothing wrong with trying to emulate one of your favorite poet’s style.
  • Verb your nouns– “lip”, “trash”, and “access” are examples of this.
  • Drop your articles– avoid use of “the” and “a” as much as possible
  • Concrete conquers flowers– concrete descriptions are far more interesting and adaptable than vague adjectives- they are much more visual and give more meaning to your words, as well as making what you’re saying more understandable for readers. Adjectives should be used sparingly.
  • Writer’s Block happens– do whatever you think will get rid of it.
  •  Read your finished poems out loud– reading out loud allows you to check for mistakes, and printing  physical copy before hand and reading that is always a good idea.
  • Have someone else read your poems– readers rarely have the luxury of being able to ask the poet what he or she means, you can leave the meaning of your poems up to interpretation, but you want to make your main message as clear as possible so no one pulls a conclusion out of left field.
  • “It’s the poet’s job to know everything.”– whether it be anatomy, mathematical terminology, or various plants, a poet should refine his or her knowledge of many, many subjects
  • There’s poetry in EVERYTHING– from the most mundane tasks to the grandest events, famous poets have covered both, as well as many things in between.

I love it when things just happen to work out.

Stress is suppose to be incredibly damaging to your health, and while I may not believe in sheer coincidence, it is nice to receive a good surprise every now and then.

I now have less work on my plate, which means hopefully I can compel myself to get out of bed early and get things done! It seems to me too, that (I honestly just realized this) after I preoccupy myself I have a sudden surge of creative energy and my writer’s block is alleviated. How I never noticed this before is a mystery.

And to those who have a lot too do and are feeling overwhelmed, I advise you to take as much time as you see fit and do whatever you believe will take your mind off that stress- be it going for a brisk jog, or having a “Friends” marathon, do what you will but set a timer so you can get back to work.

All I can say is when a heavy burden is lifted of your shoulders it honestly makes you feel like there’s somebody looking out for you.

And that somebody is willing to make you not so weak and weary. =)