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:


Poetry gathering hosts competition on YouTube
Elko Daily Free Press
ELKO — The Western Folklife Center has announced the launch of the second annual spoken word poetry competition on YouTube for poets ages 18-35, as part of the 31st National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. “Expressing the Rural West: Poetry of the Next ...

and more »

Advocate.com

Richard Blanco Talks Pilgrims, Poetry, and His Princely New Memoir
Advocate.com
Back in 1970s Miami, Blanco had not yet grown to become the first gay, Latino, and immigrant inaugural poet, who helped usher in President Obama's second term with the hopeful ode to unity, “One Today.” He was Ricky — an overweight and sensitive child ...


Minneapolis Star Tribune

Cabin Country: The poetry of cabin life
Minneapolis Star Tribune
One summer day when I was shopping at a center in St Paul, someone was reading poetry on a loud speaker, and as I was eating my apple pie, I heard the words: “I must arise and go now, and go to Innisfree.” The poem continues: “I shall have some peace ...


Toronto Star

Canadian Poet Greg Frankson Banned From Live Poetry Events For Alleged ...
International Business Times AU
A Canadian poet, well-known in literary and social circles, has been banned from live poetry events in three cities, across the country. This followed allegations of sexual harassment against him, which were filed with the Ottawa's Capital Poetry ...
Well-known poet banned from events in three cities over sexual harassment and ...Toronto Star

all 7 news articles »

How Has the Social Role of Poetry Changed Since Shelley?
New York Times
Shelley once called poets the “unacknowledged legislators of the world.” This week, Adam Kirsch and Leslie Jamison discuss how the social role of poetry has changed since then. By Adam Kirsch. No one asked for Shelley's views on the Congress of Vienna, ...


Thanksgiving Poetry Potluck
Huffington Post
"The Pumpkin" by John Greenleaf Whittier Whittier, an American poet who spent most of his life working a farm, wrote this poem in praise of everyone's favorite decorative gourd in 1850. The stanza below is particularly appropriate for the dessert ...

and more »

Saskatoon StarPhoenix

'I burned a lot of bridges'; Bastard Poetry frontman took risk to make music
Saskatoon StarPhoenix
Though he started writing poetry at a young age, he didn't pick up a guitar until age 21. He started hanging out with musicians and due to his limited experience usually got cast as a bass player. It wasn't easy, but Shenton put in the hours to get ...

and more »

Gift guide: Poetry books
SFGate
Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself, illustrated by Allen Crawford (Tin House; 256 pages; $28.95). A lovely and inspired visual interpretation of Whitman's classic 60-page poem. Citizen: An American Lyric, by Claudia Rankine (Graywolf; 169 pages; $20 ...


How Many Scifi References Can You Catch At The Nerd Poetry Slam?
io9
On January 15, the Vancouver Poetry House Society held its annual Nerd Poetry Slam. Matt Loeb's came in fifth, but I really feel like "Sci Lingo We Ride" deserves a ton of accolades. The references fly thick and fast in this poem. Not give away all of ...


Canton's First Poet Laureate Indulges Love Of Language And Nature
Hartford Courant
Things changed when Hofmann took a poetry seminar in 2007. Hofmann, a professor of education at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, had earned master's degrees in English from Trinity College and the University of New Hampshire. But she ...

Google News

A Different Place...

I wish we had met 20 years ago... A different... Read More

Three Sweet Poems, and Two Not So Sweet [now in: SPANISH and English]

1) End PoemWherever you are today- Is where you were... Read More

Lamenting Poetic Moods [six Poems]

Advance: in Mr. Siluk's poetry one finds symbolist values, sensuous... Read More

Three Poems: Dona Leonors Revenge; The Old Moon; Common Sides [All in Spanish/all in English]

1) Doa Leonor's Revenge [1627 AD]Rafael Ortiz's fate Was... Read More

The Cat

Truth is stranger than fiction according to many people who... Read More

Asha of Darfur [A poem with a commentary by the author]

Asha of DarfurCry, cry-oh little Darfur woman For your sister... Read More

Feelings, O How Glorious!

Sometimes we feel hard-pressed, Our backs against the wall;... Read More

Preserving Dignity

No one should have to beg or crawl before humanity.... Read More

Infected Ideologies [a Poetic Portrait]

the disease of extremism is infectious-; whoever cannot think of... Read More

I Saw the Universe

I can see the cerulean blue of the skiesOr the... Read More

Choices

You can do and you can be whatever you want.... Read More

Anne Bradstreet, To My Dear and Loving Husband, A Discussion

"To My Dear and Loving Husband" was written by America's... Read More

Eight Poems

Out of the eight poems provided here [all previously unpublished],... Read More

Barriers

There are many times I set up barriers and walls,... Read More

Blind Designs [a Poem] and a Note by Rosa on The Other Door

Blind DesignsBorn today, gone tomorrow Like a butterfly with no... Read More

Three Poems: The Monkey Man of Lima, Plus Two More

What Hides behind the Minute?What hides behind the minute? It... Read More

The Gaul of La Laguna de Paca

Part OneI tell you a legend of long ago Of... Read More

Three Poems (While in Transition/English and Spanish)

Here are three more poems by the author, Dennis Siluk,... Read More

Opposites Do Attract Quite Well

When I am climbing up, you are stepping down. When... Read More

The Game of Life

When your life becomes unbearable And the light of... Read More

Top 20 Poetry Quotations

Explore the meaning of poetry and the motivation of poets... Read More

Beautiful Dreamer, Stephen Foster, Americas First Folk Song Writer

"Beautiful Dreamer" was written by Stephen Foster just before his... Read More

The Ballad of: Brawling Mad-dog Sergeant Rook [Now in: SPANISH and English]

English VersionA bunch of us guys in the hutIn ?Nam... Read More

Biography of Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte (1816 ?1855) Novelist and Poet.Charlotte was the daughter... Read More

The Butcher of Lima and Footprints to Mantaro Valley (Two Poems)

Footprints to Mantaro Valley (Peru; in English and Spanish)In what... Read More