2 years ago
greggr
in English · 17,648 Views
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How to Read (and then write) a Poem.
Here is my very (very) basic introduction to how to read poetry, and then how to write it. Inspired slightly by @hikaymm 's reminder that to be better writers, we must be better readers. Step 1: Find a poem. There are lots of places to check. Try the poetry community (vingle.net/community/poetry), the local library, or Google. It doesn't matter if its good or bad, ancient or knew, written by male or female (ideally, you should read these all!) The more you read, the more you'll learn. Step 2: Look at the poem's shape, without even reading it. Wow, just look at that poem. Isn't that a nice looking poem? Step 3: Read the poem. Think about it for a few seconds. Re-read the poem more slowly. You must do this! Read it more than once; read it again and again. In poetry, this is a must. Step 4: Grab a pen. Start getting rid of the empty space around that poem. What does that word mean? What's its etymology? When was the poem written? Is that a significant time for the author? Are there any particularly potent images or ideas? What makes those work? What does the poem remind you of? Step 5: Now, look at it again for the writing. What works? What doesn't work? What made you ask the questions you asked in Step 4? What would you have left out? What could you use this style for? Step 6: Try to write a poem like the one you read. Use the bits and pieces you learned from Steps 4&5. Read it out loud. Revise it. Read it again. Step 7: Now, try to write a poem that does something that none of the poems you read did for you. Read it out loud. Revise it. Read it again. These are just my tips on how to read and write, and learn in the process. What are yours?
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I love this. I couldn't agree more. especially about how to be better writers we must be better readers. #3 is really important too. In the poetry class I took the instructor always read each poem out load twice before we started discussion. great points @gregrr!!
Hahaha step #2 probably sounds really ridiculous to people who haven't seen a wide variety of poems, but there's certainly poets out there that really love playing with the visual element of their poem as much as they like playing around with literary variety.
@KaitlynnJanae That is a great exercise, and a great thing to be used to! @danidee Indeed it must seem weird, but once you look at the visuals of it, you'll always notice it.