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message 1: by Eric (new)

Eric (Youroddfriend) I am never sure about how to start writing poetry. I have written a few before but none I am really proud of. My questions for everyone here is, what makes you write them? How do you begin? Do you revise after or do you try to leave it the way it is?


message 2: by Teresa (new)

Teresa read, read, READ poetry

and then what you want to say will come to you.


message 3: by Jim (new)

Jim Eric, I wrote over 400 poems before I wrote one I was proud of and about another 100 before I wrote one where I said to myself, "Did I write that?"

Teresa is right though. Up to a point. There is so much poetry available that it's easy to find your head swimming. I started by reading a bit of everyone until I found a poet who made sense to me and then I read a lot of their poems, and not just their poems, I read everything I could about how they wrote, what little they shared.

If you want a good place to start have a look at the Best Scottish Poems of 2007, not because I'm a Scot and I'm plugging Scottish poetry, but because every poem there has commentary by the author. As a novice this kind of information is invaluable.

http://www.spl.org.uk/best-poems/inde...

I would also suggest finding a site where you can post your poems and get criticism on them. A site I was involved with for a good while was Zoetrope. The good thing there is that you are also required to criticise other people's poetry and you can learn a lot when you aren't simply reading a poem but being asked to write about it.

http://www.zoetrope.com/

Lastly, write; write about everything. Don't fret so much about everything being a work of art. Those kind of poems will come naturally.

And to answer your question, how do I begin? – I just start. There is nothing more scary than a blank piece of paper so the quicker you can sully it up the better. You can always scrap what you've written if it doesn’t work. As for revision. You're a talented bugger if you don't have to revise. If you want one word of advice: get it out of your head and onto the paper in whatever way it comes. Then leave it for a while and go back to it. It will look so much different then. Then you can shape it … or scrap it. Not so much now, but when I was younger and groping for a voice, I would potter with a poem for literally months before I was happy with it.



message 4: by Ruth (last edited Dec 31, 2007 08:57AM) (new)

Ruth | 5063 comments I echo Jim. Don't wait for a gold-plated idea. Just start. What works for me is to start writing, not even thinking about it's being a poem. No pressure. You can say whatever comes to mind. Start about anything, then follow your nose. Later you can decide if any of it might be the roots of a poem. It might. It might not. Do it again the next day. And the next...

Fill your writing with specifics. Not, "I feel happy," but "I feel as if I were dipping my finger into a jar of honey." Not "It's a beautiful morning," but "There's still a bar of mist blurring the horizon, the sea is a several shades of soft grey, a shaft of sun lights a crimson lily against the sky."

And read more poetry. There's enough out there on the internet to keep you busy thru several lifetimes. Good place to start is www.poets.org

Now, get going!

R


message 5: by Jerry (new)

Jerry | 67 comments Ibidem.


message 6: by Debra (new)

Debra (AHAVAH) | 15 comments hi just thought i let you know www.zoetrope.com is for screen plays and media but not for short storys or poems but if you go to their mothership site
http://www.all-story.com/ you can read short storys from their magazine.
here is there guideline on submissions
Submission Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in Zoetrope: All-Story.

We are a staff of two, assisted by a small team of brilliant and generous volunteers, who are collectively dedicated to reading and responding to the 12,000 submissions All-Story receives annually. To aid us in this commitment, writers should submit only one story at a time and no more than two stories a year.

Before submitting, non-subscribers should read several issues of the magazine to determine if their works fit with All-Story. Electronic versions of the magazine are available to read, in part, at the website; and print versions are available for purchase by single-issue order and subscription.

We consider unsolicited submissions of short stories and one-act plays no longer than 7,000 words. *excerpts from larger works, screenplays, treatments, and poetry will be returned unread.
We do not accept artwork or design submissions. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, and first serial rights and a one-year film option are required. We do not accept unsolicited revisions nor respond to writers who don't include an SASE.


message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim Debra, I'm looking at the Zoetrope Virtual Studio right now and it most definitely has groups that deal with the following:

Short Stories
Screenplays
Novellas
Short Scripts
Poetry
Flash Fiction

You have to log in to get access to these though.


message 8: by Stacy (new)

Stacy | 3 comments I am new to this group and to a love for poetry. Eric I am glad you asked these questions and I am even more glad for the ensuing advice! I really enjoyed the Scottish poetry site Jim.


message 9: by Stacy (new)

Stacy | 3 comments PENCIL

I have determined that I want to write poetry.

Yes. Determined.

But not committed

or I don't know how.


message 10: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 5063 comments Read, read, read. Try www.poets.org.

R


message 11: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 5063 comments Stacy, I just happened upon a poem in the New Yorker which is addresses the same issue you addressed in Pencil. Notice how it doesn't tell us what he wants, it get us involved by making us figure it out for ourselves.

FIDGET

Thought frozen in the
Cold March of a dry winter,
His dry eyes regard

Dark grays and fainter
Grays of near fields and far hills
Motionless, his mind

Playing silently
Over and over with his
Worry beads of words.

------------John Hollander

Notice how firmly he grounds us in the real world before he hits us with that metaphoric last line.

R


message 12: by Stacy (new)

Stacy | 3 comments Thanks Ruth. I really like Fidget. I like the element that you have to figure it out. I see that Hollander's metaphor is the explanation for the title. The break between the second and third stanza shows the contrast between the still world and the fidgiting world. I will spend some time on poets.org!


message 13: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Russell (wjacobr) Every poet worthy of the title writes but one poem in a lifetime. Not little framed verbal icons to inscribe in the margins of soon to be forgotten books, but a single tottering edifice of found things held precariously together with spit and sperm and shit and blood--inviting readers to enter, at the risk of contagion--an unholy order of life without rule or law, but that which it creates for itself.


Jerin's Avatar herman   Mission Accomplished!  The | 110 comments Jacob wrote: "Every poet worthy of the title writes but one poem in a lifetime. Not little framed verbal icons to inscribe in the margins of soon to be forgotten books, but a single tottering edifice of found th..."


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyEgK9...


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Eric wrote: "I am never sure about how to start writing poetry. I have written a few before but none I am really proud of. My questions for everyone here is, what makes you write them? How do you begin? Do you..."

I only wrote poetry when I was forced to in 9th or 10th grade and the teacher thought it was so good she didn't believe I wrote it which was painful. I personally think you need inspiration and if you do not have it then it won't work. Someone here told you to read but I don't think that will do it. I do believe that looking at truly beautiful things can help.
However, I can't write a line now. Its just not there. Good luck!


message 16: by Ruth (last edited Feb 09, 2011 01:30PM) (new)

Ruth | 5063 comments I've spent over 30 years as a professional artist, 15 as a publishing poet. My experience, and the experience of most of the artists/writers I know, is that you can't sit around and wait for inspiration to drop a poem/artwork in your lap fully formed like Athena from the brow of Zeus.

I'm sure you've heard the saying that inspiration is mostly perspiration. It's true. Nothing much is going to happen unless you show up for work every day, whether you're inspired or not.


message 17: by Jacob (last edited Feb 09, 2011 03:48PM) (new)

Jacob Russell (wjacobr) Herman wrote: "Jacob wrote: "Every poet worthy of the title writes but one poem in a lifetime. Not little framed verbal icons to inscribe in the margins of soon to be forgotten books, but a single tottering edifi..."

Tu Fu had an upper class Brit accent ? This is an ATROCIOUS reading.


Jerin's Avatar herman   Mission Accomplished!  The | 110 comments Jacob wrote: "Herman wrote: "Jacob wrote: "Every poet worthy of the title writes but one poem in a lifetime. Not little framed verbal icons to inscribe in the margins of soon to be forgotten books, but a single ..."


..6:25 - 6:30..


message 19: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Russell (wjacobr) lavender wrote: "Eric wrote: "I am never sure about how to start writing poetry. I have written a few before but none I am really proud of. My questions for everyone here is, what makes you write them? How do you ..."

Eric,
Try to NOT write poetry. If you succeed. Congratulations. You're not a poet. No one will miss what you didn't do.


message 20: by Rose (new)

Rose Boehm (rosemaryboehm) | 2668 comments Jacob wrote: "Herman wrote: "Jacob wrote: "Every poet worthy of the title writes but one poem in a lifetime. Not little framed verbal icons to inscribe in the margins of soon to be forgotten books, but a single ..."

Oh Jacob, I hope I never meet you in person. It's bad enough to have to have you pop up virtually every now and then...


message 21: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Russell (wjacobr) Rose, not enough that this fellow doesn't like poetry enough to bother reading it, evidently you'd have someone write even if they cared so little about poetry they could stop on command?


message 22: by M (new)

M | 1656 comments Somebody has to write verse for greeting cards, Jacob, otherwise graduates of creative writing programs would end up as clerks in department stores.


message 23: by Rose (new)

Rose Boehm (rosemaryboehm) | 2668 comments Jacob, I responded to this gem:

Tu Fu had an upper class Brit accent ? This is a ATROCIOUS reading.


message 24: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Russell (wjacobr) It's not the accent, of course--it's a reading that assimilates and digests the poems into a narrow spectrum of British poetic sensibility, without a trace of whatever they might have been in Chinese, as though they were a lost branch of English Romantic poesy, perhaps doodled on the back of calling cards by bored peers sitting in the House of Lords. I would not have believed translation could be xenophobic till I heard these.


message 25: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Russell (wjacobr) I would think it equally atrocious were he reading Wordsworth... and there, the accent would be a factor.


Jerin's Avatar herman   Mission Accomplished!  The | 110 comments Jacob wrote: "I would think it equally atrocious were he reading Wordsworth... and there, the accent would be a factor."


Hi Rose and Jacob,

Du Fu's 'Autumn Meditations' {along with The Book of Job} is widely regarded as the greatest non 'nondual' poem in World Literature.

Leaving aside concerns of content,the poem's achievement lies in its symbolist poetics ; its calculated use of syntactic ambiguity {it contains the first instance of this in the Chinese tradition} ; its profound and sustained complexity ; and its innovative form: the lyric sequence.

The poem's meditation moves between two halves of a dichotomy, each of which includes many closely interrelated elements.
On the one hand is Kui'-Chou. The elements included here are: present ; reality ; immediate perception ; fact ; mortality : insecurity ; poverty ; war ; disorder ; absence of Civilization and the deterioration of contemporaries.
For in Du Fu's mind, the Han Dynasty as opposed to whence his own Tang Dynasty, is the pinnacle of Chinese civilization.

Occupying the other half of this dichotomy is Chang'an, the capital. The elements included here are: past ; dream/imagination/reminiscence ; desire ; myth ; immortality ; home ; security { court appointment } ; prosperity ; peace ; order ; and civilization..

All these and the awesome imaginative energy which imbues the poem inevitably collapses in the final concluding couplet.

For close reading of this difficult poem and the Chinese poetic language itself,
See:

http://cck-isc.ff.cuni.cz/Hartman/Art...


And so Jacob's " it's a reading that assimilates and digests the poems into a narrow spectrum of British poetic sensibility, without a trace of whatever they might have been in Chinese "……… is completely justified [see link]
but at the very least be the accent factor..

Jacob's " as though they were a lost branch of English Romantic poesy, perhaps doodled on the back of calling cards by bored peers sitting in the House of Lords."…… True, they never can be qua ancient asiatic poetic savoir faire and sensibilities..

Rose and Jacob, I suggest the translations of David Hinton… A Nice Try.. that one.


message 27: by Jacob (last edited Feb 09, 2011 03:39PM) (new)

Jacob Russell (wjacobr) I don't know Chinese, but what struck me in that Lordly Reading Voice--was how above it all it seemed, how misty and pastoral and sickeningly sweet and sentimental, with nothing of the material reality of the images evoked, with no sense of the presence of war and dislocation that infuse Tu Fu's poetry in almost any decent translation--even the one that fellow was reading and misappropriating into another tradition altogether.

You see, Rose, I wasn't just being curmudgionly.


message 28: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Russell (wjacobr) The voice in the poem is speaking, not many years after around a roaring fire in some Asiatic version of Celtic Twilight, but camped on stony riverbanks with the sounds of war drums not far off, and where there is mist, it is not dreamlike but wet and cold such that one would want to wrap one's robe tight for warmth before drifting into sleep under stars whose omens did not promise there would be a morning to follow..


message 29: by Camila (new)

Camila Uriona (CamilaUriona) | 6 comments About Eric comment, there's no recipe. I usually read and read and read. Not only poetry, but novels and short stories. The inspiration comes from feelings, thoughts, nature, love. Everything is poetry for me.
Sometimes I listen to the words. Is like someone is saying them to me and I have to write. No matter where I am, or what time is it. I write what comes to me. That's why I highly recommend to always have a notebook with you. Good luck!


message 30: by Jules (new)

Jules Haigler (WriterinRed) | 5 comments To write poetry I usually take a hike or look at old photographs. This provides me with inspiration. But where the choice of words come from, I do not truly know. There seems to be a feeling deep in my soul that guides me. Try looking at something not with the mind's eye but deeper into its reality.


message 31: by B (new)

B | 2 comments You can write about anything. Literally. What makes a poem is the process of finding words and making connections between one object and another or with a sense or a memory, maybe a "big" concept or a small idea. Nothing is poetic in and of itself.

I wrote when I was in high school and college, usually poems about being alone and miserable, or maybe about how ecstatic I was about beauty. Some of it was good, even in retrospect. I quit, though. Wrote a poem every few years if something just seemed to call for a poem and not a paragraph. But I had it in my head that if you are going to write you ought to have something to say.

There's something to that, but if I had been practicing observation and using language with precision and grace, the tools would have been there when I was ready to use them.

For practice, I like chaos. Things like taking a dozen random words and trying to make something sensible from them, or going to the Flickr "Interestingness" images and taking the first picture and writing about one thing in it that strikes me.
You could read a poem or a Tweet and write your thoughts about it, described in the concrete terms of the room around you.

You will get ideas by writing.


message 32: by Peggy (new)

Peggy Aylsworth (peggyaylsworth) | 320 comments Eric...

You've been given a lot good advice...mainly about reading the work of good poets...Ruth's suggestion of www.poets.org is a fine one.
Also, I would recommend reading a book called Triggering Town by Richard Hugo...not a new one, but with some solid tips about writing poetry. Ultimately, of course, it's just you and the blank page...and writing, writing, writing...inspired by reading.


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