Best Writing Advice For Poetry: Many writers are intimidated by poetry, because for some reason people think of it as an extremely difficult, elite form of writing in literary circles. Nothing could be further from the truth. Everyone can write a poem, because a poem resides within everyone – you just have to be aware of the moment it becomes manifest. Here is a list of ten tips for writing poems.
Best Writing Advice For Poetry
- The inspiration should be organic
- Don’t be lyrical for the sake of it
- Use form as a scaffold if you lack ideas
- But don’t adhere to structural rules if you have a great idea
- Pay attention to the music and rhythm
- Read a lot of poetry
- Try different forms for practice
- Leave behind traces of your identity in your poetry
- Do what feels right intuitively
The inspiration should be organic
Poetry has to come from within – that is the central tenet if writing. You cannot set out to write a good poem and write it, it must well up inside you from within. If you try to force poetry, it will be substandard or artificial. And this will show through. The only real way to write poetry is to wait for it patiently. And sometime, you will see a scene, hear a note of sense a scent that will give vent to the latent poetry within you. That is true inspiration.
Don’t be lyrical for the sake of it
Poetry should be poetic – that is a standard many poets live by. Yes, this is true. But the poetic quotient should not be elaborate or forced. It should flow naturally. By injective metaphors and alliterations, the quality of a poem severely degrades. Being lyrical for the sake of being lyrical makes a poem unoriginal and lacklustre. Every poet has a style, and that style should be followed. If that style is not lyrical, so be it.
Use form as a scaffold if you lack ideas
Form can be of the utmost importance if you lack organic inspiration of the kind I mentioned above. Structure and form should enhance the content of the poem, but if the content is dicey, you can use structure to help you enhance the content. What this means is that deciding upon a form and letting it dictate your ideas can be one way of going around writing the poem. The form itself is so poetic that ideas that emerge will be poetic too.
But don’t adhere to structural rules if you have a great idea
However, the abovementioned tip is only for when great ideas are lacking. If you do have great content, that should be the limelight. So if the content doesn’t fit into a mould and doesn’t follow any rhyme scheme or meter, that is perfectly fine. Gone is the time when restrictions of form imposed themselves on great writers. Now, free form is everything, but only as long as your content is brilliant and phenomenal.
Pay attention to the music and rhythm
Regardless of whether you choose to write in a fixed form, poetry should inherently have some form of rhythm or cadence to it. The lilting flow of a poem as you recite or perform it is what distinguishes it from other forms of writing like prose. Thus when you write a poem, there should be an inherent melody to it. The melody can come from the sound of the words, the rhythm of the structure or even the placement of phrases.
Read a lot of poetry
The first and foremost step to writing poetry is reading it. Familiarizing yourself with not just structures but the way words are placed one after the other to create a poem is crucial. Discovering themes that hit close to home, reflecting on what exactly about a poem makes you feel strongly can have a tremendous impact on your writing. Also, the breadth of topics that people write about can give you an idea of the vastness of possibility.
Try different forms for practice
Whatever form you ultimately choose for the expression of your ideas, it is a great writing practice – an exercise of sorts – to try different forms out. From the haiku and tanka to odes, ballads, narrative poetry and more, there is so much to explore. And each form has not just its rules and regulations but also its own philosophy. Haikus, for instance encapsulate the art of observing the world by being in the moment. This is true learning.
Leave behind traces of your identity in your poetry
One of the most powerful and impactful things you can do as a poet is to leave yourself behind in your poems. This is what will distinguish you from every other poet and add soul to your poetry. Anyone else can use the same words as you but no one can be you. Thus, everything you do when you write a poem should be an act of expressing who you really, truly are. This could be political or spiritual, it depends on how you define yourself.
Do what feels right intuitively
The final thing to remember is that rules do not matter, instinct does. Poetry is the one writing form that is heavily based on intuitive understanding of the form. What you think works is what will actually work. So you need to trust your gut without letting the inner critic within you dictate anything. Having self confidence about doing what you feel within is right is everything when it comes to writing a poem.
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