Posts Tagged ‘poets’

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. ūüôā

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 heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –

The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the Room –

I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable – and then it was
There interposed a Fly –

With Blue – uncertain – stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see –

I don’t know why exactly I decided to post this, maybe it’s because I recently re-watched John Green’s intro to, exploration of, and analysis of Dickinson on his Crash Course segment on YouTube, and I thought this poem was particularly interesting.

So, I posted it here for all you poetic people to take a look at and observe all the various and masterful techniques which Emily Dickinson applies.

Modernist, though she may not be, her use of language is extraordinarily well-crafted and I regret not having read more of her writing. So I took it upon myself to right this mistake by not only recently acquiring a collection of her poems, but also by posting this here.

Very Interesting: “Why Creative People Make No Sense”


It’s funny how many of these (as in ALL of these) traits listed I find describe myself.

I’m not bragging, I’m just being honest.

What is it like to be the odd man out? To find that you and your friends do not share the same interests? Sure, you’ve been friends for a long time, but people change, or at least their interests change. Did the great poets of the past years understand this realm of thought? Didn’t writers have the best relationships with other writers?

T.S. Eliot was good friends with Ezra Pound, Robert Lowell was friends with Elizabeth Bishop, but Sylvia Plath said in an interview that she tried not to make friends with other writers because they happened to be rather narcissistic. 

But sometimes it seems that your friends make hasty generalizations about you, even though you’ve known them for so long. Maybe you’re just a person of many faces and you’ve only shown them one because you haven’t been presented with the opportunity to show them another side of you. And that is because you’re just one person in a group. What you want is outvoted by the majority.

Ah, well. These things just happen. I suppose you wouldn’t keep being friends if you didn’t have something in common. Even if that is less so than what you had in common during grade school.

On a rather disconnected side note, how do people in commercials always sound so happy? Most likely, they’re being paid well.

Please forgive my angst.

More poems are on the way!