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:


Bellingham Herald

Hope releases his first book of poetry
Bellingham Herald
JUNEAU, Alaska — Ishmael Hope spent six years putting together his first collection of poetry, "Courtesans of Flounder Hill," a period of time in which the manuscript went through many changes — as did Hope himself. Among them: He became a father to ...

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New poetry by area poets to be featured on LCTA buses
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New works of poetry and accompanying photography, displayed on placards normally used for advertising, are once again being placed inside Luzerne County Transportation Authority buses for the 2014-2015 edition of the Poetry in Transit initiative.


American Life in Poetry
The Spokesman Review
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Review: 'This Bird of Dawning' illuminates Christmas story with music, dance ...
Salt Lake Tribune
The performance uses dance, pantomime, and an eclectic selection of poetry and music to tell the Christmas story. The title comes from Shakespeare's "Hamlet," but several of the poems are local. Since the story begins with the Magi setting out to find ...


The Guardian

Imtiaz Dharker awarded Queen's gold medal for poetry
The Guardian
She added: “Hers is a unique perspective and an essential voice in the diversity of English-language poetry. It is a moral force – a force for good and a force for change – that refuses to see the world as anything less personal than an extended ...

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Meet the new poet laureate at Tellus360
LancasterOnline
Weitzel was named the county's fourth poet laureate earlier this month by Betsy Hurley, executive director of the sponsoring Lancaster Literary Guild. He is charged with promoting poetry and poetry education during his two-year term, which succeeds ...


Poetry and Literature Calendar (Dec. 21 to Dec. 27)
Buffalo News
Saturday, 7 p.m.: American Repertory Theater of WNY presents “ART in the Box: Poetry, Prose and Open Mic Readings” featuring poets Marek P. Parker, Eddie Gomez and Indio Cortez, hosted by poet/playwright Mark C. Lloyd. American Repertory Theater of ...


Valdosta Daily Times

Literary Guild rejoices in poetry
Valdosta Daily Times
Collins, professor of poetry at Harvard, suggests that quiet reflection in solitude can also enrich one's appreciation of everyday events. In a poem titled “Introduction to Poetry, he bemoans the fact that students do not enjoy the total effect that ...


Poetry: Diagnosis (after Raymond Carver)
Irish Independent
She has been published in a number of journals and is currently working towards a poetry collection, Camellia. She also writes plays and short fiction. A long-time resident of Cois Fharraige, Connemara, she enjoys solitary walks on bog and shore.


Birmingham's Poetry Front
Redbrick
Titled “Level Up”, this open mic night, held at Birmingham's very own repertory theatre (The REP – connected to the main library), slots nine open mic performances, an upcoming local talent and an established poet in the space of two hours with an ...

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