A question for writers of poetry

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A question for writers of poetry

Postby Jupiter » Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:45 pm

How do you do it? Do you just take a pen in your hand and proceed on writing it as it comes? Or do you establish the main idea first, then brainstorm, write down some notes, and re-arrange everything into a more 'poetic' shape?

I'm asking because I have been tempted and attempting to write myself but I don't seem to know how. Each time I have an idea in mind and want to turn it into creative matter, my mind goes blank and I can't seem to get myself together. What could this be? Creation fright? Is there any secret recipe to writing?
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Re: A question for writers of poetry

Postby Saturn » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:06 pm

Every poet's method is different, but what I can say from about 12 years of writing poetry: read as much poetry as you can, get to known the rhythms, the patterns, the metre of other poets work. Read as many different poets from across the centuries as you can.

Your first poems will be very much in the style of whomever you are reading most of that point, but in time the more you read, the more you absorb, the more you will be able to discern what makes a good poem, a successful and an effective one, and gradually over time you will begin to find something of your own voice, your own style of poetry.

Just write, and experiment as much as you can, but importantly write to please yourself first and foremost, not others. You must write something you would like to read, something that inspires you, touches you, makes you think, and, if it's a good poem, a true poem, others may like it too, and relate to it, or get something out of it as well.

That's just my opinion, I'm sure there will be others who'll tell you to take a creative writing course or learn all the rules and regulations of composition, and if need be that may be useful. I myself have never done so, and don;t care to in all honesty; my poems are directly from the heart, and if grammatically or poetically deficient, they are at least mine.
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Re: A question for writers of poetry

Postby Raphael » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:46 pm

I couldn't write a poem if my life depended upon it- not even a bad one. :lol:
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: A question for writers of poetry

Postby Saturn » Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:16 pm

Nonsense, anyone can be a poet, if I can you can certainly Raphael.
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Re: A question for writers of poetry

Postby Raphael » Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:20 pm

Saturn wrote:Nonsense, anyone can be a poet, if I can you can certainly Raphael.


Perhaps you mean a bad one... :?:
But a good one- no never...if you knew me you would change your mind on that one Saturn! :lol:
I can write a bit of prose badly, ( narratives) that's about it.

I would probably be better at singing along to Michael's music to La Belle Dame- I'm a fair singer I've been told.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: A question for writers of poetry

Postby Malia » Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:50 pm

I know how you feel, Raphael. Poetry and I don't exactly have the same rhythm. (I keep stepping on the muses's toes!) And my prose is pretty much limited to Harry Potter fan fic--and even that I don't write very often. Essays are what I most often write, these days--not exactly the most creative or poetical writing, but they can be fun, too. :)
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Re: A question for writers of poetry

Postby Raphael » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:13 pm

Malia wrote:I know how you feel, Raphael. Poetry and I don't exactly have the same rhythm. (I keep stepping on the muses's toes!) And my prose is pretty much limited to Harry Potter fan fic--and even that I don't write very often. Essays are what I most often write, these days--not exactly the most creative or poetical writing, but they can be fun, too. :)


I'm noT too bad at essays. I lack the rthym to write the poems but can see it in john's and have a feel for music.If I had been taught at an early age I'm sure I would have been good at an instrument. It's too late for that now.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: A question for writers of poetry

Postby Nonedo » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:09 pm

If you want to tell a story or tell how magical are snowflakes frozen to the trees in mid winter making them look like ice figures or if one line/picture/music makes an epic run trough you as a train or you read the title of a book/poem and felt something other than you were given – than you are a poet.
But if not, you might try painting or music or other
Good luck
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
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Re: A question for writers of poetry

Postby Saturn » Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:40 pm

I always loved this description of what being a poet means, from the film The Hours:

"I wanted to be a writer, that's all. I wanted to write about it all. Everything that happens in a moment. The way the flowers looked when you carried them in your arms. This towel, how it smells, how it feels, this thread. All our feelings, yours and mine. The history of it, who we once were. Everything in the world."

"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Re: A question for writers of poetry

Postby Raphael » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:59 pm

Nonedo wrote:If you want to tell a story or tell how magical are snowflakes frozen to the trees in mid winter making them look like ice figures or if one line/picture/music makes an epic run trough you as a train or you read the title of a book/poem and felt something other than you were given – than you are a poet.
But if not, you might try painting or music or other
Good luck


I can do that but in narrative/prose form-( as found in novels)- just not in sonnet or verse- i.e poems.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: A question for writers of poetry

Postby Nonedo » Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:20 pm

That is called technique
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
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Re: A question for writers of poetry

Postby Raphael » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:08 pm

Nonedo wrote:That is called technique


I dunno really Nonedo- I am a bit clueless really- I just write what I *see* ( the people, the places, the sounds, etc etc)
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: A question for writers of poetry

Postby Nonedo » Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:59 pm

Ok, first of all, like all arts (music, painting et cetera) poetry needs knowledge of craft (today’s authors just jump into writing and are doomed from start). First you must follow what others (Greats) did (I don't think that will be a problem in English). Forget everyone born after 19th century and most of second half of 19th century (That is where the path of destruction began). Look how stretched poems of Yeats are, it makes you think:" couldn't you have written them in less syllables / smaller meter?" It sounds as if he was only filling the meter. Look how pointlessly surreal Eliot is (though he was a talented poet, you can make masterpiece of junk). Pre-Raphaelites? Just screw them. Compare them to classic poets, and not only English, but Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Persian, Russian, Italian (Classic Greek/Latin lyrics might be hard, for drastic differences in Aesthetics). You see there are too many skyscrapers in the world to be amazed by one store houses that your culture has to offer or follow them.
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
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Re: A question for writers of poetry

Postby Saturn » Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:21 pm

Nonedo wrote:First you must follow what others (Greats) did (I don't think that will be a problem in English). Forget everyone born after 19th century and most of second half of 19th century (That is where the path of destruction began).


Quite frankly that's complete and utter nonsense, and shows a very closed mind, I don't agree with that at all. You dismiss every poet born in the last hundred years which is not only ignorant but stupid.

I can't believe any intelligent, cultured person would agree with that either.

Ridiculous idea.
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Re: A question for writers of poetry

Postby Jupiter » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:01 pm

I would like, first of all to thank you for your answer. I do understand that I need to gain thorough knowledge of poetry before starting to write, although I'm also aware that it will take a very long time and patience is not exactly my forte, and neither is my attention span very long, I'm afraid. However, I do want to do this, in fact it's more than wanting to do it, it's a deep inner need, something that can no longer be repressed or ignored. I feel like I have potential for writing, and if it's true then I've wasted the now 24 years of my life not writing, and I don't to waste any more time, because life is short and I'm tired of letting it slip through my fingers. I know this is not the usual age for a debut. Most poets started when they were very young, usually in their teens. Yet, I want to believe that it's not too late, that I still can express myself creatively and effectively, too.

I have already decided what I want to write, I have the titles in my head, and the main ideas, but for some reason whenever I try to write it down I discover that it distances itself from my initial intention, and I want to avoid that by all means. My mind has the irritating tendency of straying from the subject, for this reason freewriting would never work for me, so I suppose I'd have to take a more 'methodical' approach, which is why I asked about 'how' to write poetry, that is, the exact process that you follow through when writing

Nothing would please me more but to read and study the great poets of past centuries, as Saturn suggested, and I would be very, very grateful if you could make recommendations for me and also indicate the characteristics I should look for in each poet, what it is that makes each one of them special, what differentiates them from the rest. I would like my poetry to be as original and as ecclectic as possible, to be very personal but also to be understandable by readers, to speak of myself but also to allow others to relate, to make them feel as if it had been written for them.

As you can see, I know what I want to do, at least the gist of it. It still remains to be seen how and when I am going to do it.
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