Poetry is an art that does not require a fancy degree or years of experience. To be a poet all you need is a voice, paper, pen and in this day a handy dandy mobile device.
Anyone can write poetry, however there is poetry and then there is poetry.
Poetry speaks what is on the heart. It is a release of pain and joy. The poem you write can provide healing and provoke thought. It can shatter perceptions and defeat stereotypes. The power of the pen is unlimited. Even still we must be careful.
There are poets that pursue poetry as a goal. They do it for the publishing and notoriety and others do it for the love. Either way there are important skills you should have so that the poems you bring forth are heard and understood.
Skills to better your writing
Read, read, read! I can’t say this enough. Read everything don’t limit yourselves to a specific genre. If it is just the newspaper, read. You will learn new words throughout this process. This helps to build your vocabulary. It also helps to download a dictionary for the new words you find. There are a few dictionaries that provide a word of the day. Find them and explore
2. Read other poetry.
This is important because you will begin to learn the different writing styles. Who knows you may find a poet that you like. If you do find a favorite read their published work. Study thier styles. You will learn the style of poetry that interest you the most.
3. Write regularly and consistently
Writing even what you may consider the worst poem it’s still good practice. My Mom used to say to me, “the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask”, in this case “the only bad poem is the one you don’t write”. What you will find if that you may come back to it later and revise it. So write even when its awkward.
Writing regularly builds your skill and style. Those vocabulary words you have been keeping track of can now be put to use.
4. Practice doing poetry exercises/prompts
I have never been a poetry prompt writer however this skill can be an excellent way to sharpen your pen. A prompt could be a picture. Study the picture. Tell a story. Write what you see and don’t see. Prompts are a great way to excercise your thought process. There are numerous books and online sites that can provide prompts to expand your writing.
5. Study poetry
Study the different types of poetry. All poetry is not created equal. A poem is not just a poem. As poets even with a great talent, studying literary devices can take you to the next level.
Know the difference between a metaphor and a simile. Some people don’t know the difference and yes there is a difference. (Wink)
Have you ever heard of an “iambic pentameter”? I didn’t either until I watched a movie called “Love Beats Rhymes”. Know what it is and how to use it in your poetry.
6. Don’t be afraid of feedback
Not all feedback will be what you want to hear. Use it, build on it, perfect it! If the feedback is positive don’t stop there push yourself pass your limit and when you get there, push farther. If the feedback is not what you wanted to hear, don’t disregard it, find ways to improve.
Revise, Revise, Revise. There may have been a poem you wrote years ago. Read it and revise it to make it better. Reading your old poetry to see the growth in your voice is rewarding.
Passion is important, especially for the poet that is looking for notoriety. If you dont believe you no one else will. Passion comes from deep within. Write what your passionate about. Stick to what your good at but be better at it. Practice reciting in the mirror and in front of family and friends. Believe in the words you write.
These 8 skills are but stepping stones to being a better creative writer. Hopefully you can use these skills and expand them. Step outside your comfort zone and be greater.
Until next time.. No Line Left Behind