If you look under the ‘poetry’ tag on the WordPress reader, you’ll find more posts than you can shake a stick at. (Or read in a lifetime if I’m honest.) A lot of it is personal poetry, and if you start reading through it, a lot of it uses the same sort of language and the same sort of imagery.
Anyone who has written poetry knows that when you start out it’s very easy to write poems designed to ‘sound poetic’. The subject of your poem can quite often get lost in the writing of it. Finding your voice is the most important, and the most difficult part of being a writer. No one picks up a pen for the first time and magically finds it.
Part of the way I found my own voice was through poetry workshops and lectures. So for those of you who are interested I thought I’d share one of the writing exercises I’ve scoffed at, and then found quite useful, in the past.
- Find an object immediately to your left. A glass, a book, a mug, an ornament, a pen.
- Hold it. Think about the texture of it. The shape, the size, the way it fits in your hand.
- Where did it come from originally?
- How old is it?
- Was it a gift or something you bought for yourself?
- Would throwing it away be easy or difficult? Why?
Write a poem about your object. You’re not personifying the item, your simply telling the reader about it and its connection to you. Zone in on the small, concrete details that make that item real.
Feel free to link your poem in the comments below, but please specify if you’re looking for feedback, and to what level you accept critiquing. Constructive criticism is a great tool for building better poets, but only you know if you’re able to handle someone pulling apart your work and making comments on where they feel it wasn’t as strong as it could be.
Lastly, this is not a new feature for my site. I may throw up a couple more ‘poetry inspiration’ posts with National Poetry Day looming in the near future, but my own writing schedule means that I haven’t really got the time to make this a regular event. For now I hope that some of you this useful and I look forward to seeing what poems come out of it.