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:


The Guardian

Kei Miller wins Forward poetry prize
The Guardian
The Jamaican poet Kei Miller has won the prestigious Forward prize for the best poetry collection of 2014 for his “standout” book based on dialogue between a mapmaker striving to impose order on an unfamiliar land and a “Rasta-man” who queries his ...
Jamaican poet Kei Miller wins £10000 Forward PrizeTelegraph.co.uk
Poet's verse has chance to fit the billThe Oxford Times
Kei Miller wins Forward Prize Best CollectionThe Bookseller

all 5 news articles »

Huffington Post

The Paradox of Contemporary Poetry
Huffington Post
On the one hand, poetry seems to be dwindling -- in bookstore shelves and traditional academic curricula -- so much so that it has become fashionable for journalists to frequently declare it dead. On the other hand, I have but to scroll through my ...


The Guardian

National Poetry Day 2014: a celebration in pottery, pizzas and popular memory
The Guardian
On the day itself, a star lineup, including the author Julia Donaldson and the poet and comedian John Hegley, will take part in the Poetry Society's National Poetry Day Live, taking over the Royal Festival Hall again for an afternoon of films and ...


In Modi's visit to MLK memorial, a touch of diplomatic poetry
Washington Post
It was a moment of sheer diplomatic poetry. When President Obama showed India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi around the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on Tuesday, history seemed to come full circle. Many Indians take pride in the fact that King drew ...

and more »

UT The Daily Texan

Poems to be brought to life at Poetry on the Plaza event
UT The Daily Texan
Poetry should be heard, not seen, according to Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis. This idea is the inspiration for her latest project, “Dylan Thomas and the Colour of Saying,” which celebrates the art of poetry through oral recitations of fellow Welsh poet ...
Be part of Dylan's Great Poem project on Poetry DayThe Guardian

all 2 news articles »

Pixel Poetry review
Eurogamer.net
Pixel Poetry is the latest, and it would seem to have several advantages. Not least, distribution from Devolver Film, the video arm of games publisher Devolver Digital. From Hotline Miami and Gods Will Be Watching to Titan Souls and Hatoful Boyfriend, ...


Philadelphia poet laureate hosts poetry guests at Writers House
The Daily Pennsylvanian
Philadelphia poet laureate Frank Sherlock, a frequenter of the Kelly Writers House, returned to campus on Tuesday to host a trio of guest poets from across the country. Melissa Buzzeo, Samantha Giles and Julie Patton shared samples of their work that ...


TXK Today

Texas A&M University-Texarkana Hosts Upcoming Poetry Workshop
TXK Today
note_norwoodnickweb Texas A&M University-Texarkana will host a poetry-writing workshop and poetry reading presented by award-winning poet, Dr. Nick Norwood, as part of its new thematic program and lecture series focusing on environmental issues.


Lynchburg News and Advance

Lynchburg woman carries poetry to many corners of the community
Lynchburg News and Advance
And she's taken her poetry outside the area — specifically, to Busboys and Poets in Washington D.C., a community gathering place featuring a range of artistic events. She brought her poetry to the airwaves, too, delivering poetry after an interview on ...


BBC News

Disused phone box inspires poetry
BBC News
An old telephone box in Oxfordshire is hosting a pop-up poetry exhibition inspired by all things telephonic. Villagers in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell recently turned the box into an arts space but it was its previous role that inspired local poet Robert ...

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