Monday, January 23, 2012

Writing Better Poetry

Do you think you're incapable of writing poetry? I don't agree. I think you're just looking at it the wrong way.

When people begin to learn how to do something, they don't expect to be experts straight away. They might have lessons first, then practice it, and they will slowly get better at it.

If they're really keen to improve, they might get further lessons, masterclass lessons perhaps, with a person who is acclaimed in the particular thing. I'm thinking here of a broad range of things - tennis, running, painting or cooking. It might take a while, but learning your particular thing with an expert can begin to make you an expert too.

Most sensible people don't think they're going to be expert at their thing right from the beginning. So why do so many people write off their ability to write poetry before they've even really begun to write it.

Well known poets worked for many years before they were accepted as being great. Some of them were never really acclaimed until after their death, after years of writing poetry.

So if you think you can't write poetry, why not give yourself a chance, and find someone who may be able to help you. You don't need an expert, sometimes just having a poetry partner, someone who perhaps is also trying to learn, can be enough. You can share your poetry and think about what works well and what doesn't work so well.

If you do it this way, you may eventually begin to see ways to write poems you feel proud of. It truly can be that simple. In most towns there are courses or writing groups, where like minded people meet to think about poetry and write it. If you can find such a group, you'll probably surprise yourself, and find you can in fact write poetry.

What a fine thing that would be!


john malone said...

It is certainly far easier and less time consuming to write a poem as compared to a short story or a novel

Carolyn Cordon said...

I sort of agree with you on this one John. When you're talking about a short story of 2,500 words or more, it's more difficult and takes longer than a writing a poem.

I've been working on writing my first sestina this week though John and that's a completely different kettle of fish! I've finished the first draft of the first five stanzas now, after an hour or so working on it this afternoon. I have the last stanza left to do, and the envoi.

So that's a six line stanza and then the three line envoi to go. There's no rhyming scheme to worry about with writing the sestina, but the rules are complex, that's for sure.

At this stage, I think I'm going to be proud of myself if I finish it at all, no matter the actual quality of the thing!

john malone said...

well yes writing in what seems a convoluted form would certainly come close to being demanding as a 2000 word short story. It may even take more time

Carolyn Cordon said...

Yes John, it's an extremely convoluted process. I still have the final stanza and the envoi to write for mine. I'm trying not to look back too much on what I've already written in the poem. I'll give it a super close look once I've finished the whole thing.
Whenever that might be. Perhaps tomorrow...