This month celebrated National Poetry Month, a time for us to honor and appreciate the brilliant and creative minds that have influenced American poetry. April 29th marks “Poetry and the Creative Mind Day”, a day for us to take a look at all those poets and writers who came before us and changed our perspective on society. This is also a day for us to explore our own creativity, and for us to challenge ourselves to grow through writing and creating. To help us along, I’ve compiled a few tips on how to write poems when you’re looking to change your methods of writing! The first three brainstorming ideas come from an article I found on MasterClass written by one of their staff. The last two ideas come from my experience as a writer and poet, as I have experimented with a variety of poetry forms and writing styles. Hopefully, some of my personal experience can help my fellow poets and writers through their creative process!
Listen To Your Surroundings
From the MasterClass Staff comes an idea that I might just steal for myself to use, which is to eavesdrop! Start by jotting down any bits of interesting conversation that you hear from people around you throughout your day. Later in the day, look back at your notes, and rather than thinking about the content of the conversations you heard, think of how they were spoken. Analyze the emotions a person had when they spoke and use their speech to form a poem! I feel that this is a great way of practicing how to articulate emotions in your writing and how to make your readers really connect and immerse themselves in your work.
See and Do
Think of poets you look up to or poems that you love. Pick them apart and try to figure out how the author uses their voice to write a story. What can you learn about this particular poem? Why did the author choose to steer the story in this direction? Make an effort to understand how the poem was organized and developed, and then do it yourself! Open yourself up to being influenced by other poets and writers and their styles of writing, and you’ll allow for improvement and growth in your own writing.
Flashcards: For generating new ideas for poems, begin with a topic. Gather ten blank flashcards and on one side of each card, write a single line about the topic. MasterClass Staff suggests utilizing both emotional and concrete details and imagery to write these lines down. Mix up the cards, place them face-down, and pick five cards to flip over. Based on which cards you have, try to craft a story out of them, and ask yourself what’s missing. To make things more interesting, try experimenting with different combinations of cards. This is a fun way to create stories and helps you build upon a single topic while still using emotions to focus the story. If you really want to challenge yourself, try setting a timer for five minutes and see how many cards you can write on!
Don’t Limit Yourself: In my honest opinion, poetry isn’t something you write for others, it’s something you write for yourself. You don’t need to crank out some philosophical line about life, nature, or love, just write whatever you feel. If you plan on sharing your poetry with others, write about whatever you’re comfortable with. But if you’d rather keep it to yourself, that’s completely up to you and you can use it as a way to heal. If you’re worried about some lines not making sense, you can always go back and clean up your thoughts later. If you stop yourself before letting an idea fully form, you’ll risk not letting it grow into what could’ve been a great poem or piece of writing.
Write From a Different Perspective: Think to write from a perspective that no one would ever think of writing from! For example, I once wrote a poem about Life and Death and personified them so that they became human entities with their own story. First, think of a situation that comes to your mind and write about it. It can be related to nature, life, love, people, animals, or anything you choose. If you pick a perspective to write in right off the bat, stop yourself. Then, write in the opposite perspective that you originally thought of. This gives you a fresh lens to write through and you’ll be able to think of so many new ideas because you’ll be challenged to see things in a different way!
Today is a day for you to exercise your writing skills and create something new! These tips may point you in the right direction, or they may lead you to contemplate other ways of thinking, both of which are welcome. For those of you who aren’t writers or poets, join us in celebrating and do a few of these activities as well! Writing and poetry are so important to the way we express our emotions and thoughts, and it is a wonderful thing to be able to share with others!