1. LinnyV
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    LinnyV Contributing Member

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    I want to be a Poet...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by LinnyV, May 21, 2016.

    That's right, exactly what the title says.

    And no, I am not joking. I am deadly serious.

    I've decided to stop being scared or blinded by poetry, and give it a crack or at least appreciate it more.

    I can go online and google myself silly on how to start, and I intend to.

    But as someone who has no foundation in poetry, other than "Roses and red and violets are blue..." I'd really appreciate some direction from the lovely people of this forum.

    Any advice, serious or otherwise would be so appreciated. :)

    Even just how I would go about adjusting my brain to being open to poetry would be wonderful.

    I feel it's a bit of a deficiency in my writery mind.

    I know, if you're reading this...you're probably thinking I am a silly person.

    It's true, but I would still like to be poetic. ;-)
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2016
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  2. Lorena
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    Lorena Active Member

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    the first and most important step is to read as much well-written poetry as you can get your hands on. don't start writing anything until you've read a good deal.

    here are some of my favorites:

    Emily Dickinson
    W.B. Yeats
    Sara Teasdale
    Sylvia Plath
    Elizabeth Bishop
    Robert Frost
    Hart Crane
    Dylan Thomas
     
  3. LinnyV
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    LinnyV Contributing Member

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    Thanks @Lorena - I'll have a look at those Poets.

    But I will listen to your advice - no writing anything. To be honest, I wouldn't know badly-written poetry if it hit me in the face. It's all bad to me, which is the problem. :meh:
     
  4. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I disagree ... writing is one of the few crafts where habits are easy to change. Starting early won't hurt.
     
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  5. anxiously
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    anxiously New Member

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    I agree. I think it would actually be interesting for you to try writing something before you read any poetry and then as you read more, write more too. Then you can look back and see how you've changed/grown since the beginning.
     
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  6. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    Writing poetry is a great thing to try! It's very enlightening to thoroughly examine your emotions and try your hardest to find the right words that express them.

    Wanting to be a poet though? That requires looking deep inside yourself and finding that knot of love, your personal tangle of raw emotion.
    Now your first instinct is to just leave it there, that's what most people, sane people, do. Sadly you're not one of them, you're a poet. Poets pull that birds nest of feeling out of their chest, strip our soul of that safe place we'd been crafting, reinforcing, and protecting since the first time our feelings were hurt, for all the world to see.
    Now, and this is the important part, write in detail every soul searing, mind ravaging emotion felt as the world takes what you hold dear and exclaims, "This? Poetry? But it doesn't even rhyme..."
     
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  7. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Poets write poetry and novelists write novels.

    To paint an image of such titles is pretense.
     
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  8. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    Oh snap, shots fired, here we go. What i was trying to do was show some of my terrible poetry as an example, but this looks way more fun.


    I've fixed a toilet, does that make me a plumber? Or is fixing, or installing, water drainage materiel every day the requirement for unlocking the title 'Plumber'? How about applying for an apprenticeship, earning your journeymen or Master plumber license? Is that the requirement? Maybe none of those are what it takes, you can pass the test but still be known as a hack, not a plumber. Maybe what it means to really be a plumber is for someone to see your work and think, "You know what, that's quality plumbing."
     
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  9. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am not sure what you are trying to say here. Certified plumbers have licenses, at least as far as I know. Poet and novelist are not protected titles.
     
  10. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    You have a literal and concrete understanding of what something is based on what it's done and/or doing. What i'm saying is that the world isn't as black and white.

    You can build a million bridges, but have sex with one goat and you're not going to be known as a bridge builder...
    In the same way (minus the bestiality) , the requirement for being a 'poet' isn't writing poetry, its that you express life.
     
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  11. KokoN
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    KokoN Active Member

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    I would love to help you! Although I am trying hard to be a novelist, I always feel I'm a poet at heart and 99% of what I write is poems.

    It's often hard to distinguish between poetry and prose because there's a lot of overlap, but I would think of it like this. With prose you're using the words more practically, usually how they are defined (except with metaphors and similes of course), to convey a narrative or instructions or whatever other purpose you have. With poetry (at least for me) it's more like I'm taking the words themselves and playing with them however I see fit until I like what I have. I say it's like painting with words. A good analogy would be comparing it to painting. Prose is like painting a fence or a building or a statue or whatever. It can be beautiful but you're using it to paint something specific. Poetry is when you take those colors and paint a picture.

    The other thing you need to think about is why you want to write poetry and what kind of poetry to you want to write. What feeling do you want to convey with your poems? What feelings or images are you trying to express? Do you want to write structured or free verse poems?

    The bottom line when it comes to poetry, the sky's the limit. Write something down and then change the words around until it sounds pretty and makes you feel the way you want it to.
     
  12. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    Forget anything i may have said and go with this.
     
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  13. KokoN
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    KokoN Active Member

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    I mean the part about the goat was pretty insightful. ;)
     
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  14. LinnyV
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    LinnyV Contributing Member

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    Thank you everyone! I think I could take a bit away from something everyone has suggested:

    @Lorena - I'll definitely look at the Poets you listed as a starting point. Thank you again muchly for your promptness and williness to help.

    @Aaron Smith - I will start earlier rather than later. Like the next moment I have some creative thinking free space. I feel I need a clear head to start this poetic endeavor. My brain is filled with software bugs, demons falling out of space, raisin toasts, Celine Dion and ongoing guilt I have not finished Dune. I just can't imagine it would make for good poetry creation.

    @anxiously - A very good point. I didn't even consider it, because I would like to see what an Anti-Poet could come with, and compare later after she made real efforts to learn. :)

    @Chained - I really appreciated your input. Your first response especially felt like something I could work with - I'll try to look deep inside myself and come up with something. No doubt, it will actually rhyme and be utter nonsense. Which, I am guessing is what @Lorena might mean by badly-written poetry.

    Now, I didn't quite expect references to toilets, plumbing, bridge building, goat sex and mentions of the word bestiality, but it was extremely amusing. You've got me starting the day with a big smile. Thank you. :)

    @KokoN - Wonderful advice. You continue to be a lovely surprise, I hadn't realized you were a poet at heart. :)

    I'll elaborate further on why I am wanting to write poetry in a separate post. So I can break my wall of text.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2016
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  15. LinnyV
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    LinnyV Contributing Member

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    So why am I suddenly so interested in poetry?

    I've not been hit by a touch of whimsy or poetic fancy. I want to gain poetic intelligence so it can add another layer of depth to my writing of all things. For me, writing is NOT just about writing novels. To me it is any expression with words.

    I better apologize upfront. Below is a brain dump.

    In the above posts, it seems to indicate a little friction between what is a poet and what is a novelist. For me, I don't care and it could be that I am ignorant. I would hope there is a crossover, an overlapping and where skills in both can complement each other. The end result being fluid writing with the creative use of words.

    Recently, I was writing something and it struck me that I was "stiff" in my writing and the rhythm was all wrong. I've read fiction all my life and I come from a technical background where accuracy is critical. This combination defines my writing. So while I feel I am creatively descriptive and concise enough, I feel I am too literal in thoughts, and could do with improvement in fluidity and rhythm in my writing expression.

    As @KokoN described so well, I want to use a poetic brush in my writing, or at least know when it can be used to add color, texture and complex emotion to my creations that would make them a joy to read. I would actually not mind even slipping the odd poem in my stories. I did that recently in a mock story that contained a mock poem that I wrote to make someone laugh. It was fun and had me thinking...

    Generally, poetry often crops up in my reading and I am tired of ignoring it.

    As a Romance reader, I am aware of the phenomenon of women swooning at a well written poem. So I'd like to swoon too. Unfortunately, poetry bounces off my eyes and I am immune. A recent example was someone sending me poetry he claimed hypnotized a woman. I read it and was not at all hypnotized. I must be deficient or something. So this again had me wondering...

    But mostly, I feel the people who write poetry (and I assume it's good stuff, I can't tell) often have a special 'poetic' layer of depth in thinking and writing. I'll never be able to pin-point what exactly, but I've really begun to notice it as I travel along this writing journey. I aspire to have whatever that is. :)

    I'm pretty eager to find out if poetry adds anything to my writing. So this is something I am taking seriously.

    I would hope poetry will help me with all of the above. I've actually had a look around a few weeks ago as to where I could start. It was a little overwhelming for me. My children (6 years olds) come home with a sheet of poetry every day from school, I'd rather not start at that level. lol

    So I really don't know what type of poetry I want to learn to write. I don't want to be limited, but I do want a sensible starting point for a reasonably intelligent adult. Also, if anyone can give any practical advice from their own experience that would be greatly appreciated. I think it's about how to channel thoughts and feelings to pull out emotional depth in writing. But seriously, I have no idea what I am talking about.

    I'm encouraged from the responses I already have and I feel less of an idiot for asking. I'm open to all suggestions, no matter how silly it may sound. But I don't do any form of animal sex, imagined or otherwise, and my goals are not so grand as building a bridge. I'm teasing @Chained because I'm still chuckling. :-D

    I'm just wanting to learn how to string together words in a beautiful and poetic way.

    EDIT: And hopefully, I'll learn to edit in Poetry... I mean you can't have longwinded poetry right?
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2016
  16. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Poetry is really more about finding a unique flow of words to convey different meanings through writing. Although that's a poor way of defining it, because poetry isn't just that. Poetry can really be just an expression of one's thoughts as well. It doesn't have to be direct such as a story is. It can convey meaning with metaphors and such.

    I wouldn't say poetry is "expressing life", because it can easily be the opposite of that. Poetry can also tell a story if it wants to. It can really be whatever you want to be, but their is a fine line between poetry and prose you should be cautious of.
     
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  17. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    You know what they say; if someone tries to stop you just kill their children follow your dreams!
     
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  18. KokoN
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    KokoN Active Member

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    Absolutely Linny you are right. Prose and poetry are two ends of a spectrum of writing, but most works fall somewhere between the two ends. I think learning to write poetry would be an awesome addition to your writing repertoire.

    I recommend you start by trying to write in structured format, imitating other people's styles, because it really forces you to chose your words carefully and rearrange sentences in ways that novelists would never do.

    Many find structured poems daunting, but here's how I do it. (Or used to; haven't done it in a while.) After I figure out what style of poetry (because that can affect the theme), I choose what theme and ideas I want to convey. Then I write each line, just with the idea I want, without worrying about rhyme scheme or meter. Then I go back and hunt for potential rhymes on the lines that need to rhyme, and then try to rewrite the lines with the correct meter and rhyme scheme.

    Here's a website with a list of different types of poems:

    http://www.competitioncrazy.com/most-popular-styles-of-poetry/

    The descriptions aren't good so if I were you, I'd Google each style individually to see more examples and descriptions of each. For example, there are many types of sonnets.

    I also think I remember the book "Poetry for Dummies" was helpful for learning about different styles of poetry.
     
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  19. LinnyV
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    LinnyV Contributing Member

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    Agree and appreciate everything above, except I might skip this. I don't think I can seriously sit down and read a how to poetry book for "Dummies" and feel inspired, no matter how useful the content. I get it for techie books, but for writing, that's a shockingly awful title. That title alone is enough to propel me to the bottom of the poetic rejects heap and feel like I'll never climb out of it. I'll stick with googling as you suggested. :-D
     
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  20. KokoN
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    KokoN Active Member

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    I know, it is a terrible title but it really was a good book. Its just really good at covering basic styles of poetry that everyone should be familiar with, I guess. In a way, it is just about the technical aspects of poetry. Because there is a technical side to poetry, at least structured poetry. But I totally understand if the title is too much of a put off. Maybe you can find a similar book with a different title. :)
     
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  21. Lorena
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    Lorena Active Member

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  22. LinnyV
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    LinnyV Contributing Member

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    Oh forgoodnesssakes! I tried to join a poetry site yesterday, first poem I bumped into was one about Men thinking with their Penises, which I thought was a good intro (for me) to the world of poetry. Not quite what I was expecting, but funny enough.

    After liking the poem, I wanted to follow the woman who wrote it in hope there was more amusing stuff to come, and I wanted to respond to her since she welcomed me. Instead, I found my account didn't let me do much of anything for lack of permissions. And today, my account looks dead.

    *sigh*

    It feels like the Poetic Powers of the Universe are working against me. Probably thinking I have nefarious intentions. :bigmad:

    I just needed to vent somewhere. I am the Queen of Inappropriateness, if there ever was one.
     
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  23. aguywhotypes
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    aguywhotypes Active Member

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    You read a poem that was lewd
    now the powers of the universe
    made things worse
    you've been banned by a poetry forum
    so much for carpe diem
    cause you've been screwed!

    LOL.
     
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  24. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    For me, what distinguishes poetry from prose is its ability to convey the maximum amount of effect from a minimum of words. Consider two examples from popular songwriters (who are also published poets):

    In Jackson Browne's "Fountain of Sorrow," he writes:
    He's used the word "perfect" in the second line to first mean "ideal" and then to mean "total" or "absolute." When he uses the word in the third line, you realize that he intends you to read "perfect stranger" both ways, compressing two meanings into one word. To me, he's suggesting that the only people we see as "ideal" are strangers, because once we get to know them and they aren't strangers anymore, we see their flaws.

    And Paul Simon wrote in "The Boy in the Bubble:"
    He uses the phrase "the way we look to" in two senses: "the way we cast our gaze in the direction of" and "the way we appear in the eyes of." And because each of the iterations can be read both ways, it amplifies the impact of the words.

    These examples demonstrate how poetry can use language in a sort of super-charged way, to convey more than is conveyed at first glance. When I examine the work of the best poets, I'm stunned by how perfectly each word is selected, and how changing it usually damages the poem beyond repair.
     
  25. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    To echo what's already been said, read a lot of poetry. Anthologies are a good place to start. They'll give you a wide range of poetry and poets to read. Next, figure out what you like and don't like. It's perfectly OK to dislike famous poets. Don't let the opinions of others sway you. Once you find what you like, try to find more poetry like that, whether it's the same style, by the same poet, etc. Try to emulate it and incorporate elements of it into your own writing. Soon you'll find your own distinct style and voice. It's just a matter of time and practice.

    Of course, this is just one way to go about it. There are several others. Good luck!
     
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