Jude's 10 poetry tips
Our Sand Writers tip for March is Jude Aquilina's ten tips for writing poetry. We think number 1 is pretty important!
Ten Poetry Tips:
Writing poetry should be enjoyed, never viewed as a chore. Set exercises for yourself. Be playful and experiment. Writing poetry is like nutting out a crossword puzzle and just as satisfying when you feel you have got it right.
2. Store your ideas
Keep notebooks, scraps of paper used at the time of inspiration. This is your idea pool. Artist's sketch, poet's note.
3. Read widely
Try to read all genres - nonfiction, special interest, news, reference books, as well as literature and contemporary poetry. The stimulus of an exciting book arouses creative talent -- have your notebook with you while you read. If you enjoy a poem, don't be afraid to imitate the styles of other poets. This is how we learn, just as a musician listens to and imitates the work of other musicians.
4. Stop. Sit. Listen.
Resist the pressures of modern life by stopping and taking time to think and write. Allow yourself time and space, interruption-free: ‘A room of one's own’, as Virginia Woolf said.
5. Use all your senses
The inclusion of sounds smells, tastes or textures will enrich any piece of writing.
6. Show, don’t tell
Poetry should never preach. Good poetry allows readers space to think and to come to their own conclusions. Avoid words like 'sad' and 'happy'.
7. Be original, be strange
During the creation of poems, do not self-censor -- explore all thoughts. Forget what anyone else says. ‘Minds are like parachutes they only function when open’ (from Pauwels & Bergier, in The Eternal Man).
8. Edit. Edit. Edit.
It is not uncommon for poems to go through more than 10 edits. It is unusual for a poem to be written in one draft. A gap in time between the first draft and the final edits of a poem is essential. It allows you to stand apart from your work and see it afresh.
9. Share your writing
Learn from the mistakes of others. Join a writers' group to increase editing skills and to receive valuable feedback. Read your work at open readings.
10. Just do it
You can think about it all you like, but unless you actually write and complete pieces, you will have achieved little. The more you write the easier it becomes. And as Jack London said, ‘You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.’
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