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:


Los Angeles Times

Poetry makes a difference in 'Please Excuse This Poem'
Los Angeles Times
“Most poets,” Carolyn Forché writes, in the introduction to Brett Fletcher Lauer and Lynn Melnick's anthology “Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation” (Viking: 290 pp., $16.99), “begin writing poetry in secret.” It's a great ...

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Long publishes poetry chapbook
Napa Valley Register
Bonnie Long's love for poetry dates back to her high school days, but the 60-hour workweeks of a career in city government left little time for sonnets, pantoums and free verse. So it felt good when Long, after retiring from her last job as St. Helena ...


MinnPost

Strong lineup for June's Jazz Fest; poetry contest is on
MinnPost
Poets, lapsed poets, aspiring poets and occasional poets (sorry, small joke), sharpen your pencils. The Common Good Books annual poetry contest is back, with more rewards (this year, Garrison Keillor is offering $5,000 in prize money) and fewer ...


SFGate (blog)

Poetry, jazz and berets come to Top of the Mark
SFGate (blog)
Which is why you should head to the famed Top of the Mark on Tuesday evenings in March and April for poetry reading accompanied by jazz music. The classic San Francisco nightspot has teamed up with the Beat Museum to host a 2-month long series of ...


Twenty-nine students to compete in WV's Poetry Out Loud competition
Huntington Herald Dispatch
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Twenty-nine students from across West Virginia will recite poems by Walt Whitman, Sylvia Plath, Billy Collins, Tracy K. Smith and many others during the 2015 state Poetry Out Loud competition set for March 6-7, at the Culture Center ...
Poetry Out Loud state semi-finals to be held in Barre on March 11vtdigger.org
High schoolers set to compete in Poetry Out Loud state finalsAhwatukee Foothills News
Students from 35 Vermont high schools in poetry contestWCAX
Tuscaloosa News (subscription) -KyForward.com
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Ayatollah Khamenei – #AvidReader of novels and poetry?
Christian Science Monitor
I'm not into cinema and visual arts but when it comes to poetry and novels, I'm not just a typical audience. #Books #AvidReader. — Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) February 25, 2015 · "I've read many novels and poems," the 75-year-old religious leader told ...

and more »

MLive.com

'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' explores twisted family dynamics through poetry at ...
MLive.com
KALAMAZOO, MI -- Tennesee Williams infused his plays with poetry, and Kevin Dodd will explore the intricacies of Williams' language when he directs the Kalamazoo Civic's production of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," which runs March 6-22 at the Parish Theatre.


Four Oklahoma students will receive poetry awards
NewsOK.com
The Newman Prize for Chinese Literature is awarded biennially in recognition of outstanding achievement in prose or poetry that best captures the human condition and is conferred solely on the basis of literary merit. The 2015 Newman Prize will go to ...

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Jerusalem Post Israel News

Slamming poetry at Flatbush
Jerusalem Post Israel News
I ARRIVED early at the Flatbush Yeshiva in Brooklyn. The blasts of Arctic air outside the Avenue J station made me think of my vile winter ascent up Jessup Avenue as a boy attending Yeshiva Zichron Moshe in the Bronx. Only there were no young poets ...


The Auburn Plainsman

Professor turns a home into poetry
The Auburn Plainsman
According to Jolley, his passion for writing poetry and his career as a philosophy professor are linked by his admiration for good writing. “I like philosophers who are concerned with writing well,” Jolley said. “They have influenced me the most. The ...

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