Become A Poet In Ten Minutes

Have you ever sat there staring at the paper, ready to write, but unsure where to begin? Want a solution that will overcome even the worst writer's block? Anyone can start writing poetry today using a few simple techniques.

One, two, ...?

Did you say or think three when you saw the above? If not, you certainly would when I asked you to fill in the blank. Your mind is a powerful machine that recognises or creates patterns. To make this work for you as a poet, you simply have to lay out the materials in an implied pattern, and let your mind do its thing.

The "materials," in this case, of course, are words or ideas. So let's round up some materials for an example. If you want to write a poem about thunderstorms, you might start by writing down relevant words, and then choose the more evocative ones: flash, blowing, rumble, night, deadly and rain, perhaps.

Now you set the pattern. In this case, we'll write a four-line poem, using one of our words in each line. We'll only decide if we want a ryming poem after we start. This is what I came up with after five minutes:

Rain stands still in the sky

Trees dance as in a painting

In a flash it is here and gone

And night grumbles at being revealed

It doesn't matter if most aren't good poems. You just have to write a lot of them, and then work on re-writing the ones with potential. With a little practice, you can write a dozen poems in an hour, then pick out the gems. My wife has had poetry published using Deal-a-Poem, a game we created based on this technique, so we know that it works, and it's fun as well.

More Tips For Fast Poetry

The technique above works because when your mind focuses on a word with the intent to use it in a line, it is stimulated into action. It wants to find the pattern - or create it. To make this work even better, try the following:

1. Start with words that are evocative and metaphorically rich. You'll be more inspired and probably write a richer poem with "howled," "torn open," and "festering," than with "said," "broken," and "rotten."

2. Use this or any other technique as a starting point only. If you have a great line already in mind, don't force one of the words from your list into it. If a poem starts to write itself, and becomes ten six-line verses, forget about the technique. Treat it as a tool to be used when you need it.

3. Don't sit there waiting for inspiration. Write anything NOW. Start with any topic, or even random words. The surest way to get inspired in your poetry is to start writing a poem.

Steve Gillman has been playing with poetry for thirty years. He and his wife Ana created the game "Deal-A-Poem," which can be accessed for free at: http://www.dealapoem.com

In The News:


Telegraph.co.uk

Return to Betjemanland, BBC Four, review: 'proper poetry'
Telegraph.co.uk
In Return to Betjemanland (BBC Four), his biographer AN Wilson gave a fine account of the television broadcaster and former poet laureate's loves and locations. Most of all, Betjeman was rooted in place: Cornwall, where he was buried in 1984; Oxford, ...
Return to Betjemanland, BBC FourThe Arts Desk

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Snark and sexting are making Patricia Lockwood a young poetry star
Public Radio International
At age 32, Patricia Lockwood is making a splash in the poetry world — as you might expect, considering that her rise to literary fame included the publication of a 1200-word poem called "Rape Joke." ...


ABC15.com (KNXV-TV)

Phoenix to host 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam
ABC15.com (KNXV-TV)
PHOENIX, Ariz. - Phoenix is welcoming 72 poets from around the world and countless fans to the 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam (iWPS) beginning Wednesday, October 8. The three-day competition and arts festival will include discussions, workshops, ...


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A pocketful of poetry
Daily News & Analysis
It was in front of a keen audience that Jane Bhandari and Anju Makhija launched a collection of poems titled To Catch a Poem. Compiled from the works of noted Indian poets, this book aims at developing an appreciation for poetry in Indian youth between ...


Worth a thousand words: reader art inspired by poetry – in pictures
The Guardian (blog)
'This is one of a series of my paintings inspired by the world war one poem In Parenthesis by the artist-poet David Jones.' Photograph: Gestas/GuardianWitness Larkin's Friday Night at the Royal Station Hotel. 'Through open doors, the dining-room ...


O Pen! founder is a pied piper of poetry
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
They stream into the Pittsford Community Library with laptops, notebooks, printouts and sometimes stacks of poetry books at noon every Monday. They are the members of O Pen! Poetry Over Lunch, and they chatter and wave hello to each other as they head ...


P-rhyme time! Poets pen pieces about 'Full House' and 'Mad Men'
Brooklyn Paper
On Sep. 6, Berl's Brooklyn Poetry Shop in Dumbo will host a night mixing poetry with pop culture, with poets performing verse inspired by reality TV, sitcom laugh tracks, and late-night binge watching. One participating poet has even penned a piece ...

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Poetry a great place to get lost, forget yourself
The Coloradoan
“The Disappearing Cowboy Trick” is the intriguing title of Fort Collins author Kristin Abraham's latest book of poetry. Do cowboys really disappear? No, this is merely her clever title melding cowboy folklore with the carnival. Abraham said most of her ...


CBC.ca

Zaccheus Jackson, 36, dies in train accident 2:14
CBC.ca
A void has been ripped into the lives of family, friends and Canada's spoken word community with the death of 36-year-old Zaccheus Jackson this week. Jackson, who became a fixture and inspiration in Vancouver's slam poetry scene starting nine years ago ...

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Award-winning Cuban poet and translator shares memories of Communist state ...
Golden Gate Xpress
In a time when strict social reforms led many members of her home country to flee to the United States, Nancy Morejón was a child, playing in the streets of Cuba. It was these scenes and a nationwide strive to work as hard as possible that inspired ...

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