Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Art of Writing Poetry

Although it is believed, nowadays to be dead, obsolete, and hard to get, poetry represents one of the last vestiges of a language that is not yet hyperfast, superficial, and subjected to the laws of technology.
Good poetry, at least.

So how to make good poetry?

First of all, it is necessary to understand that any talented writer will read more than he writes. Many writers tend to say, "I don't read because I don't want to be influenced". As a consequence, their poetry is only about themselves; it becomes the expression of an ego that, in all sincerity, no one probably cares about with the exception of a parent or two, and the ones who wrote it.

Poetry should represent the quintessence of life and, in so doing, it should link the poet to the universe entire. A personal experience will be of interest only if it relate to a wider dimension in which each of us can feel participant.

Avoid stereotypes and cliches. So many poems often resemble in their language, styles and figures of speech the poems of other iconic poets. The result is usually a rough copy, highly imperfect, of something that has already been written in a much better fashion by the most talented poets in human history.

Always carry a notebook with you.
The Moleskine brand can be a very good choice, although this is a very personal statement. Although excessively expensive, their lack of frills and unnecessary drawings and decorations help you get straight to the point.
Ideas pop up our mind any moment; we don't want some good inspiration to take flight because we had nothing to write it on when it came up.

Stop being always available!
Cut off a little moment for yourself everyday, one in which you will turn your cell phone off and plunge into your thoughts. This is the only way to be deeply connected with yourself and with the Universe.

Read aloud what you wrote.
Poetry was born to be read aloud and live in front of an audience.
Reading aloud will help you understand what needs to be changed, rephrased, or reworked. Remember, rhythm, patterns, assonances, rhymes, consonances, and other kinds of similar effects can be better "felt" if read aloud.
Sharing with others might definitely give you some useful feedback.

Any additional tips you would like to share?




  1. I learnt most about the art of poetry writing during my creative writing course - so I'll say - go to a good class! Take care

  2. Kitty,
    I would personally pick a specific university course on poetry to begin with.
    Then I would try to figure out if any locally or nationally recognized poet is giving courses.
    Thanks for your advice!

  3. I think your tips are spot on, Jay. Wonderful post. I'd really love to go to a live poetry reading sometime! I've never been to one, but I bet it's magical!

  4. Nice tips! I think sound and rhythm are also important in prose.

    One of my critique partners gave me mini Moleskine notebooks for my birthday last month. How fun is that?! :)

    Have a great week!

  5. I have my best thoughts while I'm swimming and promptly forget them when I come out dripping wet sans mole skin book :) Part time exam invigilation is also a good time. What the two activities have in common is a mind in free fall.

  6. A good one I love which applies to all writing, but especially to poetry, is to take out every last word that is unnecessary.

  7. Love these tips! I really enjoy poetry--LOVE to read it, but I am no good at writing it!

  8. All wonderful advice. But you discourage me right away by making me aware that I can never, ever touch the quintessential, universal, perfect words and subject matter of Rilke! No fair...

  9. I think too often writers will attempt to be artsy and obscure, focusing too much on symbolism and flowery language. The language should bloom naturally and say what it says without being purposely awkward with enigma that readers are expected to sort out. Poetry should tell us something that enlightens us to be the sort of thing we will ponder and return to. Gimmicks and cutesy language may entertain and catch a readers attention, but good poetry should capture and keep the reader's attention.

    How the poem sounds read aloud is a very good point.

    A Faraway View