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Getting Started in writing poems
Posted by: Dereck (
Date: August 05, 2003 02:28PM

I wrote a few poems in High School and I remember that I enjoyed doing that. I want to pick that back up again, but I am drawing a blank on a few things that maybe a few of you could help me with. One is the types of poems, formats specifically. I need a source to get that information. What to write about, I don't know if I should write sad stuff, happy or anything.... I just draw a blank. Also in how to put the poem into words to make it sound good. I know that some of that will come with practice but what do I do to get started? Any reply would be great.

Re: Getting Started in writing poems
Posted by: -Les- (
Date: August 05, 2003 02:48PM

My recommendation would be first to read a lot of poetry. Here and elsewhere. Then write what you like. You will surely get ideas about form and even substance by looking carefully at what you read. Bear in mind that the first person you need to please is you. No one else's opinion matters as much.


Re: Getting Started in writing poems
Posted by: ilza (200.162.247.---)
Date: August 05, 2003 05:39PM

just start writing ...

I have eaten
the plums
that were in the icebox
and which
you were probably
for breakfast
Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.

William Carlos Williams
This Is Just to Say

Re: Getting Started in writing poems
Posted by: dennis (
Date: August 06, 2003 11:21AM

In a like situation I started reading other poetry and how to books.
Both were worthwhile. There are a great number of fine poets and
books on the subject. I find that my own personal interests are what
I do best-love poems to my wife, solutions I discover, beauty I observe,
things that rattle round in rythymic patterns. Having something to say
Is the rub. Saying it well, is the art. good luck, dlc

Re: Getting Started in writing poems
Posted by: Talia (216.117.99.---)
Date: August 06, 2003 12:03PM

I agree with Les that you should read lot of poetry and all different classics and read modern stuff...lit mags, published books, amateur websites and groups... in fact you can visit Poetry Swapping@ MSN groups for more of that. As far as what to write, I say write what you are feeling, what you think about, etc. What emotion is making you want to go back to writing poetry? Write about that! I think it's great that you are.

Re: Getting Started in writing poems
Posted by: Be_2REEW (
Date: August 27, 2003 04:14AM

I took a poetry class in college, and everyday we did a quick-write by having one student open a random book and point to a line. We would start each poem with that line, and write without stopping for 5-8 minutes. I usually ended up with a horrible poem, but sometimes certain lines or subjects come out that lead to much more fascinationg poems. I like the previous suggestions too, but if you are stuck... just start writing... you never know!

Re: Getting Started in writing poems
Posted by: dennis (
Date: August 27, 2003 10:20AM

Pick subjects which interest you-then interest others through your
poetry. You can start with a short fixed form and expand into others.
Use the dictionary on any words you are fuzzy on-such as- meter
foot ... Poetry is a mix of fixed forms and the fluidity of speech. If
you can use this mixture well, beauty usually follows.

Don't be discouraged if it is difficult. Some very facile stufff is not
worth reading. Some excellent poets (Dylan Thomas), worked
very hard at perfecting each poem. Volume is not important.
You can get a start on poetry by writing words to a piece of music
you enjoy. This will help you find rythym in your work.

Poetry should be enjoyable to read and write. I get a great deal of
joy out of my work. Readers are often hard to find but this forum gives
the aspiring poet a large and interested public.
best dlc

Re: Getting Started in writing poems
Posted by: Elliot (149.123.60.---)
Date: August 29, 2003 06:36PM


A good suggestion to anyone is for them to do what you feel they have to do (which is morally and legally positive). In keeping with that, perhaps if you do not have a specific drive to write poetry (or anything else for that matter, e.g. painting, novelist, etc.), do not do it. Simply there is too much mediocrity with which we must wrestle.

An artist (poetic, novelist, painter, etc.) has been described as a person who can not - NOT do their artistic thing. Perhaps if one finds things happening in his/her life popping up in his/her head as lines that suggest a poem, THEN try your hand at writing poetry.

As Haldorn Flamergushen (1818) once wrote:

Alas, these medeocre poets,
They ex-cell at blowing it...

Best of luck, Derek,

Re: Getting Started in writing poems
Posted by: Chesil (
Date: August 30, 2003 04:01PM

Do what William Stafford did and write every morning. Just what is going on in your life, random thoughts, stream of consciousness stuff. From that for Stafford, and very many others, phrases and thoughts appear that lead into a poem.

As for form. Write what feels good to you, learn about classic forms and if sonnets, villanelles or any other traditional form fits what you are trying to say, use them. If not use free verse, but try to place a ryhthm in it, use words carefully and lovingly.

Don't worry about Elliot's warning on mediocrity. Most of us are, but we hope to get better through practice.

Re: Getting Started in writing poems
Posted by: Linda (
Date: August 30, 2003 06:31PM

Having written your poem, put it aside for a day or two, then read it as if it belonged to someone else. Make a judgement now, is this poem worth showing to others? That way you can keep your worst offerings from cluttering up the discussions, but will give us quality later. (A diamond is not always needed, sometimes an agate is more appropriate)

Re: Getting Started in writing poems
Posted by: kelly (
Date: August 31, 2003 03:24AM

I came to this website to try and find exact poem/author. In reading your message I would like to help. Poetry to me is inspired by life experience and situations. Go with this, make it consice (spell) don't worry about rhyme-just use reason and you'll do well. Good Luck.

Re: Getting Started in writing poems
Posted by: rikki (
Date: September 06, 2003 07:34PM

Dereck, another hint, once you get started on writing poetry - "the art of art is knowing your audience." If you are only writing for your own personal satisfaction then anything goes; but if you want other people to be interested in what you write (and especially if you want to eventually be published) then remember that poetry is about the audience, not the poet.
Try not to slip into self-indulgence as most readers aren't interested in becoming part of a poet's self-analysis. Poetry is an art form, not just a means of exorcizing our personal turmoils.
Try to find a spark that will make your poem rise above the mere stringing together of words - pick an unusual topic, or take a different perspective on a common topic and aim for some literary inventiveness and an engaging approach. Take pen and paper with you everywhere you go, and jot down any impressions or words that trigger off your imagination; and always keep a dictionary and thesaurus close by when you are polishing up the final draft.
And above all, enjoy!


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