How to Make Your Poem Leap from the Page!
by Katherine West
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 of time
Just grab a pen and get ready to rhyme
Take a deep breath and then just gaze around
Open your ears and catch every sound
Now you must open your heart and your soul
Listen carefully, and let your pen roll
Inhale each and every fragrant smell
Envision heaven’s grace or wrath of hell
Remember to add a bit of spice
Just hold your breath then quickly roll the dice
Your words must have rhythm, tempo, and swing
Go ahead! I explained everything
Words That Wet the Soul
My ideal poem grabs your heart
And doesn’t let go
A poem that flows
Into a river of tears
Conjuring up beautiful images
Imbedded into your mind
To be replayed at whim
Time after time
I want to make the sun smile
And bring the wind to its knees
I want to lasso the moon
And bring you back to me
On angel’s breath
Words whisper to me
To gently scrawl
A secret sonnet
I want to bury a treasure
Deep within your soul
Whimsical words that
Make you smile
I draw a map
With ribbons and lace
Over the falling star
And back to my heart
Words that wet the soul
With dewdrops of love
That glide softly
Down your rosy cheeks
I want to feel the silky touch
Of your haunting wishes
Here upon my heart
I conjure a memory
So that you may
Taste a salty tear
Right here upon my face
A voice that speaks
Of warm baby’s breath
Searing scarlet hearts
On translucent skin
Thoughts that make you prickle
Visions that chill
And chase the rain away
Leaving smiles in their place
Releasing demons at will
With words at my whim
So you may understand
Just who I am