How To Write a Poem

Writing a poem isn’t a matter of simply following a succession of steps or a manual; it’s not cooking. I mean of course, that you don’t begin by chopping off the adjectives then add a verb or two for flavour and turn a noun around so it doesn’t burn. There are no set rules that apply to all poems and each poem should be treated differently when editing.

“Love poems are not written when lovers are kissing”

Poetry comes from raw emotion remembered after THE moment. Love poems are not written when lovers are kissing, but afterwards. It is for this reason that I will not write a step by step guide on how to tap into your inner poet, as WikiHow has done. Instead I will give you an insight into one way you can release the poet trapped inside you that gets forgotten about as you manically try to squeeze into that overcrowded tube carriage on the way to wherever you are going.

“Poems should not flitter flatter”

For me writing poetry is like practicing mindfulness; it is the experience of staying with and in a chosen moment. Poems should not flitter flatter about going from A TO D TO B TO X.  The best poems are the ones that develop a simple idea. It is not the value of the subject of the poem but the language which sings it out that should be valued. For instance I could write a really amazing poem about a hoover or I could write a really crap and boring poem about how evil Trump is. The latter might get the most shares on Facebook but the former will be still be read when Trump is forgotten.

When I describe the practice of being in a moment I am not telling you to go out, buy a rug and sit and meditate for hours but I am telling you to get rid of all the junk that runs through your mind in any given moment ie all the negative and intrusive thoughts that block creativity for most people. It may sound idiotic, hard, even impossible to slow your mind down but it is something everyone that watches TV does when they are fully engrossed in watching their favourite Eastenders episode or whatever they like to watch on TV.

Poetry makes nothing happen and nothingness makes poetry happen.

The next time you sit down to write a poem write all the gunk out of your mind first. Take a pen and write whatever your mind is telling you to write and not to write. This automatic writing enables you to tap into what you really want to write and allow you to forget about anything else. Poetry makes nothing happen and nothingness makes poetry happen.

 

K.A. Lockton

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