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#297558 - 07/31/09 09:54 AM A thought on writing poetry
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Today is the birthday (55) of the poet Kim Addonizio. I really enjoy reading her work, and I saw somewhere that once she was asked what helps her write and replied: "Clearing the decks, in all ways. Shutting out the world, cleaning the room, not answering the phone. … I load up on the errands and other responsibilities on different days, so I can get up in the morning on a writing day and feel it stretching out ahead of me."

That's a professional speaking, of course, but I was struck by the fact that for me it's usually very different. When I write a poem it hardly ever comes out as a planned effort. I will just be sitting there and something occurs to me, so I write it down and a few minutes later there's the first draft of my poem.

Thinking back on it now, most of the poems I have written about abuse issues are poems I needed to write, not something I planned to write. In fact, I'd have to say it helped me specifically because it met a need I had right then and there, at that moment.

I wonder if anyone else has thoughts on this. Do you sit down and think, "I want to write a poem about this", or is it a more spontaneous reaction to wherever you happen to be emotionally at that moment?

And how does writing a poem help you? I know I keep responding to you guys with the thought, "I hope it is helping you to write this down." For me, composing a poem is my heart's effort to explain to my head why something matters and how it matters. A poem just seems to be the best way - again, at that moment - for communicating and processing my feelings.

Anyway, it's a muggy morning in PA and this has been on my mind, so here you are. I will be interested to see if anyone else has thoughts on this.

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#297724 - 08/01/09 09:51 PM Re: A thought on writing poetry [Re: roadrunner]
Derdlecar Offline

Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 1316
Loc: Ogden Utah, USA

When I write, sometimes it is as you say, out of necessity, something I need to write. At other times, it is something I plan to write. At those times, I do have to plan ahead, I set aside a block of time, I put the right music on, something that sets the mood of whatever it is I'm writing about, something sad, happy, or even angry, something soft, or loud.

If I write something worthwhile, my emotions are very much involved with what it is that I'm putting on the paper or computer screen. I may have tears running down my face or maybe my poor keyboard is really taking a beating as I pound the keys. Or if the I'm writing something happy, I have trouble sitting still because I'm having a hard time resisting the urge to get up and dance.

That's how I do it Larry, and when I'm done, I am usually very tired and in need of a nap.

Love ya

If a man would get his life on track, he must first go back to the place where it was derailed.

#297756 - 08/02/09 02:29 AM Re: A thought on writing poetry [Re: Derdlecar]
outis Offline

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2261
Loc: Maryland USA
It's been both for me. I'm working on a poem right now that came to me as something that I needed to do, an urging to get this onto paper (curiously I still write poetry by hand) and came to me as a set of phrases, somewhat disjoint yet connected in ways I'll discover as I write.

Whatever has brought me back here in recent months needs me to get it onto the paper now. I need to see it looking back up at me, too.

Thanks for giving me the chance to consider this.


"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken�"�The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

#297972 - 08/04/09 08:58 AM Re: A thought on writing poetry [Re: outis]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2931
Loc: Newark, England
One of the real problems I've had with abuse is inability to write.

for me, writing fiction or writing academically have always been the same thought process, i get myself into a clear creative space, seeing what I want to do and where to get to and I just splurge! I just sit and it comes out.

then, comes the checking, and rechecking, and rechecking, ---- many times, where I take things out and put them in based on how they look. That's the part of the process which really takes work.

the problem is, my abuse and depression has gotten totally in the wa of that. I'll stil have the thoughts, the ideas and the desire, bu I sit down at my computer, ---- and nothing happens, or worse, i look at what I've done and find it all rubbish and delete it.

writing is the thing I most want to do with my life, which is also why I want to get through all these after effects so that I can do it.

Poetry however is totally different, and I find it happening much asLarry describes.

ocasionallyOccasionally,I'll hear something which gives me a synaesthesic impression, a colour, a set of thoughts, which i wish to express, ---- hence the poems where I steal other people's structure, or the times I put quotes at the bottom.

but mostly,. my poems just come out at the time, as a way of expressing something I need to express, ---- and I don't tend to check them half as rigorously as I check other writing.

I just wish I could get my creativity back properly.

#298163 - 08/05/09 07:39 PM Re: A thought on writing poetry [Re: dark empathy]
outis Offline

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2261
Loc: Maryland USA
Keep working it. "Properly" may mean something different by the time you see it again, but it will return.



"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken�"�The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

#298359 - 08/07/09 11:49 AM Re: A thought on writing poetry [Re: outis]
stripthesoul Offline

Registered: 04/13/09
Posts: 10
I write a lot of poetry related to my past experiences (at one point, I was writing at least one every day), and for me, the experience is not supposed to be about writing something that is technically wonderful, but just a way of expressing my feelings. I've written a few things which I'm proud of and have shared with people, but mostly I just use it as a way of getting my emotions out onto paper. I don't like at it in terms of writing properly and improperly, because for me, if it expresses what I need it to at the time, then that's proper, regardless of whether or not it's actually a high-quality piece of work by other people's standards.


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