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How to Make Your
Poem Leap from the Page!
by Katherine West
October 4, 2000
|So, you want
to write beautiful poetry and stories that come alive with brilliant imagery.
You try to add color and life, but you struggle with getting the imagery
just right. This is a stumbling block for many authors. Some say that writing
with wonderful imagery is a gift, and that it can not be learned. I say
that nearly ANYTHING can be learned by nearly ANYONE.
First, in order to write with vivid imagery, you must visualize the poem. If it is a poem about a garden, see the garden. If the poem is about a blazing fire, watch the flames. Watch the blossoms open up, breathing the air. See the orange flames; hear the crackle of the fire.
Give life to the blossom and the fire. The blossom can cry, shedding the petals. The fire can voice its evil laugh with fury. To do this, you must close your eyes. Yes, that's right. Close them. No, I have not gone insane.
You are probably asking yourself, "Kat has gone mad. Why does she want our eyes closed? Doesn't she want us to read what she has to say?" Since you need your eyes in order to read this column, I suggest that you try this technique AFTER you have finished reading my tips.
Anyway, after your eyes are closed, you watch the story unfold. Watch the tender rose blossom. Does it have dew sprinkled over it? What color is it? Is the color symbolic to the theme of your poem? Where is the light shining? Let's look around. Is there a bird flying near the garden? What I am trying to tell you is this. Leave reality for a moment. That garden is your reality.
Close your eyes, and become part of it. Sniff the air. Touch the flowers. Now, write down what you feel. Write down what you envision. Let the scene play out in your head like a movie. Watch the story unfold before your eyes. Watch and write.
I know that you have to open your eyes in order to write. Now you are probably shaking your head, and looking doubtfully at the monitor before you saying, "That's it! I've suspected it, but now I am sure. Kat is downright nuts! She wants us to daydream and leave reality for a frolic in the leaves?"
Yes, that is exactly what I am telling you to do. A poet is a dreamer. Daydreaming has been made into an unforgivable waste of time by our bustling society. Here's a hit: Daydreaming is ok. Daydreaming is necessary to make your stories and poems take on life.
When I am absorbed in my writing, I close my eyes or sometimes I just stare blankly into space. My husband just loves to tease me about this. He walks over or leans over, depending on how far away he is, and he waves his hand before my face. Then I see his devilish grin, and I know that he is having a bit of fun at my expense.
"You're out there a bit, hon," he quips at me. Then I get a just a little bit miffed.
"I am writing poetry, and you know that I have to concentrate when I do. Now, leave me be," I answer him as I give him a disappointed look - one of those looks that a Mom would give a misbehaving child. I have learned to embrace my nuttiness, and you will too.
Even my husband has learned that when my creative, right-brained side takes over, I become a slave to my writing. I sometimes write like a demon for days, spewing forth all of the mire that weights my brain down. (Sorry about that. I slipped into poetry there for a minute.) I love to brainstorm, allowing my mind to breathe free.
Sometimes I will even write down every writing idea that comes into my head. I keep this list for the times that I am rather uninspired. This list is a great way to beat writer's block. Maybe that is why I hardly ever experience writer's block.
1. After you come up with an idea for a story or poem, remember to close your eyes.
2. Watch, smell, and feel the story.
3. Give life to the inanimate objects. Make them weep, speak, or growl.
5. When you get an idea,
write it down! I don't care if you're in the car, in line at the grocery
store, or at a little league game.
Here are 2 poems that
I hope give the reader even more insight into how to write poetry:
How To Be A Poet
Poetry takes but a moment
Now you must open your
heart and your soul
Remember to add a bit
Words That Wet the Soul
My ideal poem grabs your
Conjuring up beautiful
I want to make the sun
On angel's breath
I want to bury a treasure
I draw a map
Words that wet the soul
I want to feel the silky
I conjure a memory
A voice that speaks
Thoughts that make you
Releasing demons at will
All works copyright Katherine West 2000
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