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Posts tagged ‘National Poetry Month’

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

What I love about writing poetry

For National Poetry Month, I thought I’d share some thoughts on my most favorite and least favorite parts of writing a new poem:

My favorite part of writing a new poem:

  • The idea that invades my mind like twining ivy and won’t let go until the entire poem has been put to paper
  • Making messy lines and blot outs and squiggles with my colored pen on paper as I play with ideas and words
  • Typing all that mess into a fresh, new document on my computer—that feeling of chaos becoming somehow ordered
  • Rereading the poem, feeling both its wholeness and its incompleteness in my mind and body
  • Editing the poem, fussing with words and line breaks, challenging myself to see what can be more specific or fresher
  • Reading the poem for my writing critique group to see my creation through new eyes, discovering where the poem can be improved

My least favorite part of writing a new poem? Read more

The poem I’m carrying in my pocket today: A call to create

Today is Carry a Poem in Your Pocket Day in the United States — the day every April where people select a poem to carry in their pocket and share with others. It’s one more way to celebrate poetry during National Poetry Month.

I’ve been reading the work of Spanish poets recently and found a poem that struck me. “Throw Yourself Like Seed” by Miguel de Unamuno speaks to me about the low points that can affect all of us and the call to return to what makes us feel most alive — our work, which for me means writing.

“Shake off this sadness, and recover your spirit;” de Unamuno writes.

Ultimately, finding purpose through a creative pursuit builds strength and is the way to a full life. And the words we commit to the page will be a legacy long after we are gone.

“But to live is to work, and the only thing which lasts
Is the work; start there, turn to the work.”

Read more

If you want to be a poetic writer, read and write poetry

Part of the pleasure of reading is discovering a word or an arrangement of words that resonate. Like any aspect of writing craft, injecting a poetic influence in your work requires practice. No matter what genre you write, poetry can influence your work.

In honor of National Poetry month, consider adding these reading and writing activities to your creative practice:

Write a poem a day. Several years ago, I decided to do a project where I would write a poem a day. I didn’t put any pressure on myself to write great poetry. I just set the intention. Some days I wrote poems I liked. Other days, I struggled and felt happy if I could write several images or lines that I could work with.

Keep a poem-a-day journal to write your poems and record observations. As you go about your daily life, watch and listen for things that spark your curiosity. My poetry practice had an interesting side effect: I found it enhanced my powers of observation. Read more about it in this post, including tips for starting your own poem-a-day practice.

Read a poem a day. Poetry can help you break through resistance that stalls your writing. If you want to write poetry or anything else poetically, read a poem every day to prime your writing practice. Read poems first all the way through and then read them again to analyze each line. Write in your notebook the lines and images that resonate. Read the poems aloud.

Sign up at Poets.org to receive a poem-a-day all year in your e-mail. For the month of April, Knopf Poetry will send out a poem a day. Visit the Knopf Doubleday website to sign up. (Click “newsletters” in the left sidebar, check the poetry box, and enter your e-mail.)

Writing poetry is not only a good way to become observant of the world around you. Writing and reading poetry make you conscious of words and their meanings and create a hyper awareness that spills over into all your writing.

For today’s inspiration, read the poem by Mark Strand featured on this year’s National Poetry Month poster, then go write your own poem:

Eating Poetry
Ink runs
from the corners
of my mouth.
there is no happiness
like mine.
I have been eating
poetry.

From Collected Poems by Mark Strand

Test your poetry skill with this quiz

I admire people who can recite poetry from memory. I’ve never been able to do it. An 80+-year-old friend and poet can recite poetry all day and night and week long. Yes, I’m jealous!

But there are other ways to test our poetry dexterity. Try this poetry quiz put together by Jessie Strasbaugh: Poetry Quiz

For more ways to experience poetry, read my earlier post “The yoga of poetry.”

And, to enjoy movies about poets or poetry, check out Carly’s post Celebrate National Poetry Month with a movie night.

How did you celebrate National Poetry month this year? Please share in the comments below.

The passion of poetry on the Garden Island of Kauai

Aloha from the beautiful Garden Island of Kauai. Wherever I travel, I try to check out the local writing or art scene. The other night, I traveled from our hotel in Kapaa to the town of Hanapepe on the southwest side of the island to attend a poetry reading in honor of National Poetry Month.

At the home of Storybook Theater, 10 or so local poets read and treated the audience to song, guitar music and a cacophony of Kauain frogs that at times drowned out the speakers with their deep, bass voices. (When one croaked right behind me, I nearly skyrocketed out of my chair because it sounded like some kind of jungle monster, not a frog). Competing with the frog choir was a baby chicken that sent out little peeps like sonar throughout the night. Talk about local flavor! All we needed were a few feral cats to complete the scene. (Kauai has a huge feral cat population—and we always participate in their nightly feedings when we’re here. Yes, just call me Cat Lady).

But I digress. Back to poetry. The theme of the reading was planting seeds. Seeds are a big thing on the Garden Island where food and plants can be grown year round in the rich soil. Read more

Add a spark to your writing: Three posts to celebrate National Poetry Month

Here at One Wild Word, we love poetry. To celebrate National Poetry Month, we’re sharing three poetry posts that we hope will inspire you to read and write poetry.

In How to draw from life to write poetry, you’ll find ideas for creative inspiration that could lead to a poem and more.

Do you want to go deep into an idea as you write a novel or essay? Even if you don’t think of yourself as a “poet,” consider writing a poem to get at the emotional core of your manuscript. Learn more in Using poetry to enrich your prose.

Learn from your poetry writing efforts by documenting your process. See more in Two reasons to keep a poetry or writing journal.

Watch for more ways in upcoming posts to celebrate poetry.

Learn more about National Poetry Month at Poets.org.