Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Finding Your Poetry

I nudge people to submit to The 5-2 whenever I can, of course, and many tell me they'd love to write poetry, but they don't know how to start. Some are even great prose writers. As a teacher, there's nothing I love more than stirring someone's imagination, giving him the tools to create something that shows his individuality and dedication.

I discovered I wanted to write at thirteen, but didn't dedicate myself to poetry until I was an adjunct English professor at Hofstra University, working the technical side of a faculty poetry website. You might say my motivators were a desire to contribute and a fear of embarrassment, a fear so strong, I made sure I wouldn't be embarrassed.

Three books helped and continue to help me: In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet's Portable Workshop by Steve Kowit, The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises From Poets Who Teach by Robin Behn and Chase Twichell, and Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge. There are, of course, several good books on writing poetry, and a different one may help you. For that reason, before you seek out books on writing poetry, try to connect with a poem you've read. Does it move you or not? Why? Analyze your reaction and try to write a poem in response, bypassing for now the need to generate an idea all on your own.

That's how I started. Let curiosity lead you from there. I look forward to reading your work.

No comments: