How to Start Writing Poetry: The Adults Edition

Posted by: tlaffernis, July 14, 2016 2:07 pm
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Summer Poetry Contest writing tips

If you’ve dabbled in poetry before, you know it’s not as effortless as the greats make it seem. But with a few tricks of the trade, you’ll be able to identify what your poem needs, and how to take it to the next level. Once it’s there, you can submit to the Summer Poetry Contest to see your name in print.

Read ahead for a few tips to get started:

Get descriptive

Turning the spotlight on a particular detail is a powerful, efficient way of conjuring up mood or tone in your poem. Small details can also make your poem more nuanced, delivering a complexity that sweeping statements cannot. However, it’s important to exercise a little restraint – you don’t want something that reads like a list of adjectives!

Focus on a particular moment

When you’re hoping to express big themes in a poem, it’s easy to get lost in vague language. Instead of tackling the poem as a whole, try honing in on individual moments. After all, a poem, however seamless it reads after revision, is the sum of its many parts.  

Read to research

Research here is as simple as re-reading poems you love to figure out exactly what makes you react, or looking into your favorite poet’s influences to see how their style was shaped. You can also investigate different poetry forms and experiment to find the ones that resonate with you the most.

Develop a routine

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. While that number is up for debate, creatives of all stripes suggest that turning their hobbies into a routine is the best way to boost productivity. Squeeze in half an hour of writing while you eat breakfast, or read a short poetry volume during your commute. If Beyoncé can find time to be superhuman, you can find time to compose a few sentences. 

Revise, revise, revise!

An effective method of revision is to simply leave your poem alone for a couple of weeks, and then come back to it with fresh eyes. Areas for improvement will jump out at you, and you’ll be able to refine your work.

When you’re done, submit to the Summer Poetry Contest for the chance to be published in Queens Library Magazine! And if you have kids who'd like to try their hand at poetry, check out How to Start Writing Poetry: The Kids Edition. 

Become part of the Queens Library poetry community – join us at these events!

Exploring Poetry
Thursday, July 28

Poetry Club
Monday, July 18

Open Mic Night
Mondays, July 18, 2016, August 15, September 19, October 17, November 21, December 19

The Poet in You
Queens Village
Wednesdays, July 20, August 17, September 21, October 19, November 16, December 21