David Welsh's picture
David Welsh from New Hampshire is reading The Shining November 13, 2011 - 9:56pm

I used to hate poetry because I was always embarrassed to write it, but lately I've been...inspired. I'm not sure of the best way to write a poem, and I hope someone can give me some direction.

I know people will say there is no "right way" to write a poem, I just need a better way. What is your writing and revision process like when you sit down to write a poem?

Also, who are some modern poets I should read? I've really only enjoyed Poe, Lord Byron, and Shakespeare's sonnets. Any good books about poetry that aren't narrow minded or snooty?

Thanks for the advice.

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin November 13, 2011 - 10:11pm

It's a good modern poem I've recently discovered and become fond of.

How I write poetry? I just write poetry when I write it, I am not like armitage, I can't do freeform, but I just find the rules and I stick to them. Start with Haikus, Haikus are easy, syllable counts areeasy to stick to, I like the rules, I find the rules of poetry and I hide my inability to actually write poetry inside the adherence to the rules.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like November 13, 2011 - 10:22pm

TS Eliot & WB Yeats are "Modern" (like early 20th century modern.) Not as strictly formal as some old-timers but not completely abstract either.

David Welsh's picture
David Welsh from New Hampshire is reading The Shining November 13, 2011 - 10:22pm

Yeah, when poetry gets freeform it really scares me. Like, at what point is it still a poem, you know?

A lot of times I feel like literature and poetry is made for writers and poets, and if you don't get it, it's just cause you're not in the club. But I've become kind of stubborn about figuring all this stuff out. I'm like a high schooler trying to get a fake ID so he can get into the strip club. I'm not sure if I'm going to like what I see when I finally make it, but at least I'll know.

I'm starting to pay attention to songs I like a lot more now. Right now I'm taking a look at a lot of Elvis Costello songs to see what kind of patterns he uses in his lyrics.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like November 13, 2011 - 10:26pm

If you don't get it, it's just cause you're not in the club

could just as easily apply to fantasy football. Learn whatever you want.

David Welsh's picture
David Welsh from New Hampshire is reading The Shining November 13, 2011 - 10:38pm

@JY Man, I hate fantasy football too!

Seriously though, that is a good point. It's just really easy to be discouraged when you're seventeen. Now I'm twenty-five, and I just want to do whatever I set my mind to. I'm still young enough to not waste all these years.

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts November 13, 2011 - 11:27pm

Go back and read all the basic stuff about meter and the different forms. Really the only thing to do is to learn all those terms and jump in and try an Ode or a Sonnet yourself.

Some of my favorite modern poets are e.e. cummings, Richard Brautigan, Pablo Neruda, Charles Bukowski, Srecko Kosovel, Octavio Paz, Paul Celan, Derek Walcott etc.

misskokamon's picture
misskokamon from San Francisco is reading The Moonlit Mind November 15, 2011 - 3:29pm

A buddy of mine just now let me borrow his copy of The Poems of Dylan Thomas. It's been some time since I've enjoyed a book of poetry. It's good for the blood! But really, poetry is a great thing to practice because when you return to short stories or novels or whatever it is you do, the lessons you learn from poetry travel with you. pacing, spacing, reinvention of words, all of that comes with you and beefs up your sentence styling something wonderful. 
That being said, I don't really have favorite poets. I have favorite songs, though. That may seem like the McDonald's version of a proper burger, but hear me out: Linkin Park has some great wordage going on with some of their songs. Mars Volta doesn't even make sense, but the words they use twist at your insides just because of the way they sound. And Chris Hall can write words that just--ah--I can't even explain how they make me feel. Simple lines, yet they paint such a beautiful image. "At night I feel the distance/ that has grown between us/ open up as lonely as the space between the stars," has inspired me in countless ways. I'm working on a novella based on that line alone. 

(The song I referenced there is "So far Away" by Stabbing Westward. *Hashtagpropercreditsendhashtag.*)
 

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters November 15, 2011 - 5:33pm

I used to be really into poetry in high school.  I wrote a bunch of really terrible poems - luckily I didn't have email at the time.

I still love poetry, but I haven't read much in awhile.  I read Longfellow the other day.  Love him.

e.e.cummings is wonderful.  I'm a huge fan of Sylvia Plath.  HUGE.  Also TS Eliot. 

Not a poet...and I'm okay with losing cool points for saying this...but Tom Petty writes some really amazing lyrics.  Like, artistically good, in my humble opinion.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like November 15, 2011 - 6:23pm

I'm okay with losing cool points for saying this...

@averydoll - Tom Petty is too cool to be cool. Did you hear the Mudcrutch album? Some good lyrics on there.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters November 15, 2011 - 7:25pm

^Whoo!  high five! 

There is a song Petty does called Shadow of a Doubt, and there is a line in it...

And when she's dreamin', sometimes she sings in french,
But in the morning, she don't remember it.
 

I love that. 

Savannahbuxton's picture
Savannahbuxton from Rio Linda, Ca is reading Harry Potter November 12, 2013 - 12:13pm

Linkin park has like the best lyrics for some of their songs. like in hands held high, Mike sings, "When the rich wage war it's the poor who die"

Phantomlimits's picture
Phantomlimits November 19, 2013 - 12:11am

The rules are there to be broken. 

Ric Haffer's picture
Ric Haffer from Missouri is reading Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs November 19, 2013 - 8:54pm

 

This is a new thing I've ran into lately called "Spoken Word". There's some good ones and some that make me cringe a little. This particular one I enjoy quite a bit. 

"She's the most beautiful overturned school bus and sometimes I slow down just to watch the trauma."

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami November 19, 2013 - 9:18pm

I tend to do a rhyme scheme of AABBC. Then arrange in two couplets, and a singlet. Then arrange it in the syllable fashion of 10, 12, 14, 12, 10.

Its a form that came to me sort of accidently, but it speaks to me the most.

And yes, Silvia Path and Poe for me. To some degree Walt Whitman.

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore November 20, 2013 - 10:46am

Leonard Cohen is my man. His Stranger Music collection is kept within arm's reach on my desk. I also like Millay and e.e. cummings. Really loved Rimbaud when I was younger, but outgrew him. I tend to prefer more traditional structure over some of the free verse and random enjambment, but there's good stuff to be found in all forms.

Covewriter's picture
Covewriter from Nashville, Tennessee is reading & Sons November 20, 2013 - 9:54pm

I was asked to do a poem about Joy. I said I'm not a poet. They said , but you like to write. I said yes but poetry is not me. I thought I wrote a working poem, four stanzas of syllables of five, six, five, three. I worked hard on the syllables, but it sounded stiff to me. When I re wrote ignoring the syllables it sounded better. I caught a good image of a deer bursting through the woods in to a walking path, sun piercing through clouds, words falling true on the page.  It was about joy bursting through. But I didn't follow any rules What are the rules? I think every writer should study poetry, but I really don't know too much about it. I would like to focus more on poetry, to be honest.