To the poets out there…

How do you do it?  I’ve recently been reading a few of the poetry blogs around and I just don’t understand how it all works. I’ve never been able to write poetry and I greatly admire those who can, because you’ve reached a place I can never enter.

It’s not only that I can’t write it, I also don’t understand what’s supposed to be good or bad. All of the poetry I’ve read on the blogs seems good, but how can I know? I don’t even know whether poems are supposed to rhyme, or the syllables are the same in each line. Please tell me! Do you just whip it out, or is it a long winded process?

I would like to share with you my greatest poem, the pinnacle of my skill:

There was a girl Bell
who wanted to cast a spell.
She wriggled her nose,
as she started to pose
and her sister did a foul smell.

I wrote that when I was eight. Good stuff? I know. English class really didn’t focus on this branch of writing, a failing I will never forgive my many teachers for. They show you how to write fifty thousand analysis essays, but don’t allow your creative side to shine through. I don’t want to constantly be writing about someone else’s work. I would much prefer to be taught the basics of an amazing area of writing.

I fear it’s too late for me to learn, but poets please continue to do your thing. Don’t let poetry die out!

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13 thoughts on “To the poets out there…

  1. Most of the poetry that I have posted on here were from lyrics I wrote when i was in a band. I normally try to stick with the AABBCC approach. Like A would be one line, then A would be a line with a word that rhymes with the last word in the first A. That’s why it’s AA. It can get a little confusing when you mix things up but I would just do what you feel. Even if it doesn’t rhyme you’ll eventually think of different words that will make it rhyme. Some poems don’t even rhyme.

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    • Ha I had to read that a couple of times to understand the approach. That’s how brain dead I am when it comes to poetry. It’s like a mathematical equation using Roman numerals with Greek letter instead of English letters. It’ll definitely take some time.

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  2. I can’t speak for all the poetry contributors to the blogosphere, but for me, some are long in the making and heavily edited, others just seem to pop out. Some are brand new, others from half my life ago. Some rhyme, some don’t. The style, the rhythm, and the effort are reflections of what inspired the poem to begin with. I don’t know if anything I write is actually good, but usually someone out there likes it enough to acknowledge they read it. Good enough for me. Try it out!

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    • I’m far more self conscious about poems than any other writing. For me it feels like it would be much more personal, and it’s a lot harder to take criticism when you’ve invested that much. Good to know the writing process. Thank you for commenting!

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  3. The poet who I’ve enjoyed reading most wrote things you wouldn’t even think of as being poems, yet each took me to moment he’d shared. Charles Bukowski.. If you aren’t familiar and aren’t offended by what some might think crude, he’s recommended reading. The point being, that poetry need not follow a pattern or have rules.

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  4. I am also someone who is trying to master poetry, haha. It is so difficult. I try writing poetry and post my attempts on my blog. What I do is think of a moment/feeling/issue and try to capture it using metaphors, imagery, or other literary devices. I also read poetry collections from my local library. And, when someone criticizes your poem, which has happened to me, I remind myself that I am participating in a learning process and that I can only improve. Best of luck. 🙂 Just practice and read lots of poetry! Don’t be afraid to write.

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    • I think that may be part of the problem. I am perfectly capable of writing fiction, but I also read a ton of fiction books. Poetry, not so much. How are you supposed to know what you’re doing if you don’t read it? But then I don’t tend to read poetry because I don’t understand it. It’s a vicious cycle! It is something I would like to work on though. Thanks for the comment 🙂

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  5. I saw your comment on terriblywrite. Poetry can be really hard to write. Some people seem to be born with the knack (Kipling was one). I’m of the old school that says that poetry has to conform to “the rules” (of which there are many, but rhyming is one of the Top 10). I have little patience with the “free verse” crowd, which thinks that it’s poetry if you hit Return every few words.

    Part of what makes poetry is elegance of expression. There’s a chapter somewhere in the middle of “Wind in the Willows” that’s very poetic.

    Have you looked into Shakespeare’s Sonnets? Fourteen lines, a set rhyme scheme, and besides that, tit has to be divided into three groups of four lines each, and a final group of two lines, which bring the thing to a close.

    He wrote 154 of them. I could never write one.

    If you’re happy with that you do write, don’t worry about the poetry.

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    • It’s good to see different points of view about this. I was taught in school that there were rules to poetry, which is why I get confused by all the different types that pop up, following no rules. But I suppose it is said that once you know the rules you can break them, as long as you do it well. I’ve written down Shakespeare’s Sonnets to have a look at in my little red notebook, thank you for that. And thank you for the comment!

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