Summer Writing Mini-Workshop: On Writing Poetry

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Persona poems are great because you’re not working with a blank canvas but rather, a page out of an adult coloring book. You have the bones—you just have to flesh them out. While this is not strictly a persona poem (mine is written in the third-person; personas are written in first-), it still works. https://sarahleastories.com/2016/01/26/writers-digest-wednesday-poetry-prompt-337-theme-persona-poem/

Start a reading journal (this is best for poetry). Unlike a book review, which analyzes the text for deeper meanings, a poetry reading journal is about what the text means to you. Here are some interesting poems to get you started. https://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/p180-list.html

A pantoum poem is like a puzzle where the pieces sometimes repeat themselves in unexpected ways. https://sarahleastories.com/2017/02/19/pantoum-poem-an-exercise-in-repetition/

Think about messages that might be written on a Post-It note, and find a way to repurpose them as poetry. https://sarahleastories.com/2016/09/01/writers-digest-wednesday-poetry-prompt-365-theme-year-in-the-life/

Write long, edit short. Poetry writing isn’t just for poets; it can help your short stories become more poetic.

For three years, I participated in the Writer’s Digest Poem-a-Day challenges in April and November (as well as the Wednesday prompts the other months). Daily, I posted the poem to my blog, which gave me time to build up my regular feature posts (Micropoetry Mondays and Fiction Fridays). It may seem stressful to produce a whole piece a day, but that piece can be a three-line stanza poem (which are more likely to get read in their entirety than a 100-line narrative)—the length of a tweet. http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2017-april-pad-challenge-day-4.  

If you have an old shoebox full of letters or an inbox full of emails/private messages, you can write a “found poem.” https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/found-poem-poetic-form

List poems are one of my favorite forms. Come up with a common theme or thread (i.e., that awkward moment, what if, I love it when . . , etc.), and knit a narrative that resonates. https://sarahleastories.com/2016/04/02/poem-a-day-2016-writers-digest-challenge-1-theme-foolish/

An apostrophe poem is talking to something (tangible or intangible, something you like or dislike) about how it’s affected your life. https://sarahleastories.com/2017/03/29/writers-digest-wednesday-poetry-prompt-390-theme-title-of-the-poem-is-a-music-genre/

If your story doesn’t tell one, it just might be a poem.

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