Recently I came into possession of two perfectly portable sized (Moomin themed, read my post about the moomin exhibition I went to here) notebooks. I have always found that one of the best ways I can keep my creative energy flowing is to, as frequently as possible, write poetry. Like many others, writing poetry was how I entered the world of writing, it’s a form of writing that has always come naturally to me, this of course doesn’t mean my poetry is always good however, only that my thoughts fall into the poetic stencil on paper more easily than into prose.
If you would like to start challenging yourself into writing one poem per day (as I am), here are some tips and thoughts from me.
I do not consider myself an expert on this matter, only another writer caught up in the working world who’s trying to find ways to sustain and satiate their creavity, so I thought I’d share!
Tip 1: Don’t be afraid to run with inspiration.
Whether you’re writing in the notes on your phone, using a small notebook, or both, as I am; poetry on the go is the perfect excuse to write about the things that inspire you in the moment. Whether it’s a conversation you hear in passing on the street, the spindly shadows that a tree casts on a wall or a tv show you’re watching: it all counts and you’d be surprised how many things begin to inspire once you go looking for it once a day. The poems can be as abstract, sparse or to the point as you want so, the subject matter really doesn’t hold you down.
Tip 2: Find the beauty and intrigue in all things, both common and remarkable.
If studying poetry in Creative Writing at University taught me anything it’s that, often, the most beautiful and unique poetry is about the unexpected, every day aspects of life; poetry doesn’t always have to be about grand concepts such as love and mortality. Poetry on the go lends itself perfectly to this way of thinking. See a strange hat left on a wall down a random street? That hat can have a story and a voice in a poem if you give it that power.
A poem I wrote today whilst looking at the clouds in the sky this evening.
Tip 3: Find a poet, writer, artist or anyone who’s work you love and admire and see what they have to see about creavity/their process.
For me this always comes back to the poet John Keats and his writing on the concept of Negative Capability. If you want to find some more information on the ideas around Negative Capability, you can find them here. To try and collate and compress what Negative Capability is, in relation to a poet or a creative of any kind, think of it as this: a state of being where you are entirely open to inspiration and are able to perceive beyond questioning and are therefore able to only be entirely inspired by beauty, in whatever you find it in. Keats, who coined the term said of Negative Capability that it’s when you’re ‘capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason’. This notion has been expanded upon and added to by philosophers, psychologists and intellectuals alike, but to me it is just what Keats said it was: a state in which a poet can sit comfortably in the most confounding aspects of existence and pull the beauty from it.
Tip 4: Don’t be forced into thinking poetry has to be set stanzas and lines.
After my 3rd year at University where we studied many writers: poets, novelists and short story writers, who pushed the boundaries of what their form can be. So if you get and idea in your head, a hazy outline of what a poem could be, but you don’t know how it’d fit into a ‘structure’, do it without one. Sometimes, the use of white space (all the space taken up in a poem that isn’t letters or punctuation) does more to tell the reader what you were seeing, feeling or imagining, than the words themselves.
Just a little example of how I have used free verse and have experimented with form.
So, those are my 4 tips! I hope this has helped anyone thinking of writing poetry more or wanting to do the ‘a poem a day’ challenge as I am. Or, just anyone who fancied reading about how another writer, writes their poetry: hope you enjoyed this post!
One last thing I try to remember: Don’t be restricted.