Sunday, March 22, 2009

On Writing Poetry - Some Wise Advice

In the book The Place My Words Are Looking For: What Poets Say About and Through Their Work, Paul Janeczko has collected the poems, thoughts, memories, and advice of thirty-nine poets.

Since I've been reading a great deal of poetry in anticipation of my super secret poetry project (112 books and counting!), I've been thinking a lot about the writing of poetry and have been particularly inspired by the words of Gwendolyn Brooks (p. 62). In fact, I like them so much that they are now hanging above my desk.
In your poems, talk about what you know. Talk about what you think. Talk about what you feel. Talk about what you wonder.


Buy your own dictionary. Read your dictionary every day. CIRCLE exciting words. The more words you know, the better you will be able to express yourself, your thoughts.

Be yourself. Do not imitate other poets. You are as important as they are.

Do not be afraid to say something NEW.

In some of your poems, BE A LITTLE MYSTERIOUS! Surprise yourself and your reader!
All this poetry reading as of late has led to lots of poetry writing. Most of it stinks, but just getting the words down in ink feels like a tremendous accomplishment. Often times poems never seem to make their way out of my head. (And sadly, they sound oh so lovely there, but once they hit the paper they often seem to lose their pizazz.)

I won't be sharing my poems for national poetry month, but I will be sharing the poetry of others. LOTS OF IT. I'll also be sharing ... well, you'll have to wait just a little longer to find out. The OFFICIAL announcement regarding my super secret poetry project will be made TOMORROW. I can't wait to tell you what's been brewing and share my excitement over all the great things that will be happening here in April. Come back for the big reveal, won't you?

1 comment:

  1. I love that book by Janeczko. It's one I return to again and again (although less often now that I'm in first grade instead of fifth).

    I was also really struck by what you said about how the words sound in your head versus once they hit the paper. That is so often how I feel about my blog posts. It's always reassuring to hear that someone else struggles with the same things.