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since 1999-06-29
Posts 183

0 posted 2001-04-29 06:42 AM


I've been having a terrible time as of late getting a decent poem out.  I'm pretty sure some of this has to do with the fact that my method for writing is nothing more than, putting down on paper whatever comes to mind.

I'm very curious, especially about the veterans here, as to what your process for writing poetry is.  Do you brainstorm? Sit in a special spot?  Ask yourself a series of questions? Or, is just writing down what comes to mind the standard fare here?

I'm looking to take my writing to that desperatly needed, "next level" and would whole-heartedly appreciate any advice that you're willing to offer.

© Copyright 2001 beowulf_26 - All Rights Reserved
Allan Riverwood
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Member Elite
since 2001-01-04
Posts 3502
1 posted 2001-04-29 12:48 PM

I personally tend to choose either a theme or a format first, although it tends to be the format that I come up with as step one.  I take it to a word document and sort of think of a few things on my mind... what exactly do I think when I try not to think at all?  Y'know when you shut your eyes and try not to think?  Whatever is the hardest thing to get rid of I put to the paper.
Sometimes I come up with an individual line and then base a poem around it (most of my villanelles were written that way).
I find that brainstorming takes me to a dead end most of the time.  Ah, well.  

Build a man a fire, and he's warm for a day.  Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.  

Kit McCallum
Member Laureate
since 2000-04-30
Posts 14774
Ontario, Canada
2 posted 2001-04-29 02:12 PM

I think I'm a little like Allan, in that brainstorming does not usually work for me. Ideas usually just pop into my mind in the form of one line or a brief concept. From there, it usually just writes itself. I'll base my form on the mood I'm wanting to relate.

When I get a bit of writer's block, I'll usually try my hand at a very rigid acrostic or  something like a haiku or senryu to get me going again.  One thing I always need is a quiet place to write though ...  

Senior Member
since 2001-03-17
Posts 1077

3 posted 2001-04-29 10:39 PM

I just put the ideas down, not necessarily in any order or sequence at first, and without dwelling on finding exactly the right words as I go along.
If I can get the jist of the idea or image captured at its moment of conception, then the work of improving it becomes a secondary effort.
Method out of madness I suppose?
(erm, well usually)  

"The rose, like the cactus flower, protects herself with thorns. We however, impale ourselves on their beauty."

Member Rara Avis
since 1999-07-17
Posts 7704

4 posted 2001-04-30 07:15 AM


What do you mean by next level?

Also depends on your definition of good poetry. Good according to yourself, or good according to the publishing market?

At the moment I'm doing a creative writing course at university. I sit there every week with 15 other hand picked writers, scared because they are all so good. And then we have to write something ...scary...I used to write solely due to mood. Now I HAVE to write..every week.

I sit down and pick a word. Then I form a phrase around that word. Then I write a poem - most of the time these days my words come from discipline.

In order to progress your writing you have to A: be dedicted to writing even if you don't feel like it. B: Think outside your own personal new things. Write in a new style. Change your tense and perspective. For instance, if you usually write in the first person - try writing in the third. C: Explore other writing. Read poetry you've never heard of...from different periods...If you like freeverse - read old classic rhyme. If you like rhyme - read Beat verse...

Stretch your mind and you will find new things come to you..


All obscurity starts with a danger:
Your dangers are many. I
Cannot look much but your form suffers
Some strange injury
Sylvia Plath

[This message has been edited by Severn (edited 04-30-2001).]

since 1999-06-29
Posts 183

5 posted 2001-05-01 10:52 AM

What do I mean by the next level?

Well, poetry for me has always served as nothing more than an emotional release.  As such, my work basically consists of nothing more than whatever drivel I put down on the page...

I want my poems to be more than collection of words that I threw together in haste, and I want to become a skilled writer who'll write not because it's therapudic (although I do want to continue that), but because he wants to create art.

Arg that was cheesy and I'm not sure if it even made sense.  Let me know if it does...

Member Elite
since 1999-10-08
Posts 3544
The Hague, The Netherlands
6 posted 2001-05-01 02:27 PM

LOL I think I know what you mean. I used to write down only what was inspired by emotions, but alway felt something was missing. For me the solution was the Poetry Workshop. Now I "must" write something every month in a specific meter and/or form. Not only did I learn a lot, I also think it improved my poetry a lot. I find it a challenge every time and am learning something new every month too.   And... I learned I can write with or without inspiration.    
Come and join us any time! You'll be more than welcome.  

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