Writing Poetry is a creative and expressive way to let out your emotions and thoughts. The most important thing is that you enjoy writing it and it aids to make you happier and  healthier. But if you’re looking for some tips to improve your writing process then let’s start here!

 

Use Your Own Words

Any time you see a common phrase or idiom in your poem (i.ei: “easier said than done”, “when pigs fly”, etc) You’ll want to rewrite it in a new way, in your way. Although, these phrases are familiar to your reader, they’re not very original and they’re not adding any new excitement for the reader. Metaphors are a great tool for poets, just make sure you’re being as authentic and original as possible.

In my Poem Ocean Blues & You, I take the common ‘keep at arm’s length’ phrase and put an original spin on it

“Yet still, we keep each other at an oar’s length distance,

afraid that our pasts will crash against our lifeboats once more.”

 

Show Don’t Tell

You don’t want to just write “I am sad” “She is in love”. You want to show it through descriptions and having your reader use their five senses. Poetry is an vulnerable and emotional art form that shows through imagery and honest declarations.

When the Salmon Rots is a poem that uses all 5 of the reader’s senses.

Hearing: The ebbs and flows of laughter from backyard parties crash on my ears like      ocean water beating against the rocks.

Touch: that smoky haze would cover you better than a fur blanket.

I still have these bug bite memories itching all over the skin of my heart

Sight: It was hard to tell the difference between the fading flickers of a hot, red amber from a fire versus his taillights fading down the road.

Taste: because a man who can taste the honey on my lips

Smell: Because honey soothes all bug bites and coats over foul salmon memories.

Try New Things

Challenge yourself to try new things – descriptions, different senses, a strict form. I always hated learning a new form in poetry class but those were always my favorites because of the skill level needed to complete one. You may then want to try something you learned in another freestyle poem or formatted one. Explore new themes, perspectives, and point of views and you may find an unexpected strength in your writing.

My poem War Cry is in the strict form of a pantoum. Pantoums require lines to be repeated in a specific order. When I was learning the form it didn’t really make sense until I saw examples so check out my poem and you’ll see that each line is repeated only twice and must be a specific order in the next stanza.

The other form I ended up really enjoying was the abecedarian. The form requires each line to begin with the next letter of the alphabet.  This is from No One Cries for the Sinners.

Arizona is the place for a funeral, if there ever could be such a place

because believe me when I say, Life

can’t take root in dry soil. No Botanist or Investigator

dares to try and stop her. She is contacted by the weak, the helpless, the hopeless,

 

Learn

Gets your hands on all the poems you can to assist in your research. You’ll notice different styles and techniques that will help you define your own style as you learn what appeals to you. It’s also beneficial to read your own work after some times has passed. You’ll see where your writing has developed, where you can improve, and where you want to make edits. I reviewed some of my old work in order to show examples for this article and found I use more cliches than I thought. Now I’m more aware for my future writings.