Hi I'm kind of new to poetry (been writing for about a month) and it would be awesome if you could give me some tips? Thanks :)
Hi :) I think learning to write/developing one’s voice as a poet is really a process of learning other writers’ ‘rules’, and then breaking them for a reason. Here’s a list of tips that are really important to me as a writer. I hope you find reasons to break them.
- Be vulnerable. By this, I do not mean profess your existential angst through generic cliche (‘my soul is a void’, etc.); I mean bleed. Retch. Crawl. Get your hands dirty. For a long time, my poetry was just one thinly-veiled cry for help after another, and it was awful. Cry for help if you need to. Demand the emergency room. Don’t get tangled up in long pretentious words and convoluted metaphors that serve only to distance your reader from what you really mean. You are controversial. Embrace it.
- Nouns, nouns, nouns. Abstraction is fine in small doses, but to me, what really make a poem are the intricate details. Tell me about the mildew in the corner of your speaker’s shower. Tell me about her teeth. Vivid, symbolic imagery is crucial to a poem because 1) it gives it an identity of its own 2) it provides your reader with something to ‘latch onto’ and 3) it makes the poem incredibly intimate and personal.
- AVOID ARBITRARY LINE BREAKS & PUNCTUATION. I cannot emphasise this enough. Never insert devices simply because you feel they are ‘appropriate’ at that point in the poem - think about why you’re putting them there. In my opinion, there’s little room for tidiness in poetry so if you’re only enjambing a line to keep the stanza neat, rethink your decision. The form of the poem is just as significant as the words you construct it with.
- Force yourself to write. Sadly, writers do not wake up every morning with a flurry of new ideas in our heads. Worse still, we get rusty without practice. My rule is that if I haven’t written anything in 3 days, I have to sit down at my desk for one hour and brainstorm new ideas. No matter how uninspired I’ve been feeling, this always gives me something to carry forward.
- Do things with people. I’m definitely guilty of hiding in my room, turning down invitations and ignoring everybody when I could be out collecting experiences to write about. However, the more you interact with the people around you with the ulterior motive of observing their behaviour, the more interesting it becomes. There’s something truly intoxicating human behaviour, and it makes great writing material.
- Read. This one’s obvious.
- Show people your work. Scary at first, but the exposure is completely necessary if you want to gain confidence and ambition as a writer. Plus, if somebody is expecting you to write a poem, you’re more likely to get on and write it than if there’s no external pressure/acknowledgement of your goals.
- Ultimately, just be passionate. What has always driven me forward has been my excitement about the writing process, and my complete infatuation with other writers’ work. I know I’ve read something inspiring when I want to jump around and scream and swallow it and tattoo it all over my body and cry out of jealousy that I didn’t write it, etc, etc. If words move you with a similar intensity, you’ll find a way to use them yourself.
this is important,
I’m reblogging it again because, trust me, a lot of you need to read it :)
i dare you to open up your phone or a notebook or just something nearby that has some lyrics or words you wrote and randomly pick a few lines to share
i hope when he’s holding your hand
he carries the weight of every dream that you have
and it isn’t just you
because i was lying in the folds of our sheets
and i swear that i could feel the ghost of you leave
and it was just me
and it was so cold
but it was freeing
to feel nothing
to feel you leaving
so we’re clinging onto objects
that someone else had touched
in hopes that we still smell them
in the fabric and the dust
You're amazing at poetry! I would really love to write as good as you but I'm terrible at poetry. Could you help me and "teach" me how to write poetry properly?
we all start out terrible at poetry, the only way you’re going to get better at it is if you practice. i’ve never believed that genuine self expression could be taught. the point, at least to me, isn’t to have someone else tell you how to write a proper poem. it’s to write selfishly, and to express emotion in a cathartic way, and not be concerned what other people think as long as the words feel right to you. write something that makes you cry, or makes you so overwhelmingly happy because you feel like you understand who you are better after writing it. something you want to go back and read over and over again.
but first, you have to be terrible at poetry.
you already know how to write, you’re doing it now. write more. have high standards, be patient, never expect other people to give a shit, and always try to impress yourself.