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:


New Hampshire Public Radio

Poetry Rules the Aspen Off-Season
Aspen Daily News
The Aspen Poets' Society has provided a venue for poets and poetry-lovers to convene since 2007. Simply providing an open venue to present and take in works was actually a significant moment for our valley's poets when Lisa Max Zimet and Kim Nuzzo ...
The Real Dead Poets SocietyNew Hampshire Public Radio

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NJ.com

At Dodge Poetry Festival, veterans and new writers take center stage
NJ.com
Mcpherson was one dozens of poets--including poet laureates and new writers--reciting their work at the 15th biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival today in Newark. The poets performed in front of a diverse audiences, from local school groups to ...
Poetry takes center stage at Dodge festival in Newark, NJNewsworks.org
Pinsky on poetry: Teachers should 'do no harm,' from Dodge FestMorristown Green
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County announces poetry winners
San Mateo Daily Journal
Its inaugural poetry contest, aptly named “Poetry Is,” drew 158 entries from 27 different communities in the county and winners will have a chance to read their work at a celebration this Thursday. / The authors, ranging in age from 9 to 76, were ...


Down Syndrome: Poetry, Painting, Perspective
Huffington Post
At the poetry site I manage, we have delved into the beauty of the eyes of those who live with Down syndrome--not the literal eyes, but the ways of seeing. It is a hard beauty at times, a poetry of injury. Overall, we are not trying to definitively ...


Fond du Lac Reporter

Success: Love of FDL leads Wehner the arts
Fond du Lac Reporter
Mary Wehner is known in Fond du Lac for her enthusiasm in the arts community. A poet, painter and jazz enthusiast, she has lent her hand to many organizations both local and state-wide, and has worked in a variety of fields. “I think sometimes that I ...


American Life in Poetry: The Transfer
Kearney Hub
His car rolls up to the curb, you switch / your mood, which doll to bring and rush / out again on the sliding steps / of your shoes half-on, forgetting to zip / your new pink coat in thirty degrees, / teeth and hair not brushed, already / passing the ...


Alexander Weiss, ranger who preserved Angel Island poetry, dies
SFGate
He learned that the walls were covered with poetry written in Chinese and Japanese by would-be immigrants and started an effort to preserve them. Mr. Weiss was characteristically modest about his effort. “I just started the engine,'' he said. “Others ...


RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

In Washington, Poetry Diplomacy With Iran
RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
In an October 23 keynote speech on the status of nuclear negotiations with Iran, U.S. chief nuclear negotiator Wendy Sherman cited a verse by the great Persian poet Saadi. “Have patience; all things are difficult before they become easy,” Sherman, U.S. ...

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Metro

Poetry lover stabbed prose fan after argument over which literary genre was better
Metro
A poetry lover stabbed his friend to death after a dispute about whether verse or prose was the superior literary form. The former teacher, 53, was visiting his friend Yury Nikitkin, 66, in the town of Irbit, east of Moscow, where they began drinking ...
Man gets 8 years for stabbing friend in drunk argument over poetryNew York Daily News

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Telegraph.co.uk

Russian poetry lover gets 8 years for murder of prose fan
Telegraph.co.uk
"During the drinking, the two men began an argument over which literary genre is more important, poetry or prose," said a spokesman for the regional investigative committee. "The owner of the home argued that prose is the real literature, while his ...

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