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Posts tagged ‘Mary Oliver’

Poetry prompt: How to use a favorite poem to create your own

Have you ever read a poem that inspired you in your own writing?

Mary Oliver’s poem, “When Death Comes,” is one such poem for me. I have read it several times over the years. It’s one of those pieces that has stayed with me and became even more resonant over time.

My husband died two years ago so when I re-read Oliver’s poem recently it was from this new perspective of understanding how fleeting our time is here, how every moment is a blessing.

Her work inspired me to write a poem called, “When Love Comes.” I started by following the general form of her poem but then allowed my poem to flourish and take off in its own direction. Though I started off using her form as a guide, I made sure I used my own words and my own ideas.

The result? I like it enough that it’s going to be the final poem for my poetry book to be published later this year.

Below are a few tips for using another poet’s work as a jumping off place for your own poetry: Read more

Improve your power of observation: Write a poem a day

Do you want to be more observant? Try this: Write a poem a day.

I’ve been trying it and it’s taken my observational skills up a notch. Even if you don’t see yourself as a poet, try it anyway. Not only will you enhance your ability to see more of the world around you, you’ll begin to tune into your writing in a new way. You’ll become more conscious of words and their connotations. These skills will carry over into other forms of writing that you do.

Here are several tips that might help:

1. First, don’t freak out. Relax and just tell yourself that you’re going to go with the flow. You don’t have to write completely polished poems here. Just write. Your poem doesn’t even have to be “finished” the day you write it. Shoot for having a “draft.” Read more