Vision: A Resource for Writers
was six years old when I first saw my name in print, on a two-line story in our
school magazine. I think it was then that my addiction to the written word
of my poetry is about my life; putting words onto a piece of paper is my way of
staying sane. Sometimes words just flow and I can write a complete poem in a few
minutes. But more often than not I jot down the lines as they pop into my head,
then I go back and worry at them until a poem emerges. Those fragments are like
children, constantly demanding attention until satisfied.
was lucky in the English teacher I had. She taught us all about similes and
metaphors, iambic pentameters, sonnets and haiku, without making it seem like a
chore. I have learnt a few things from other sources in the years that have
passed since my school days. One of them, and probably the most important, is to
read any poem I have written out aloud. It helps with the placing of punctuation
and the flow of words.
the poem aloud also helps to get a feel for the poem,
to hear whether it works or not. I often find that when I read my poems,
a word will stand out and I will realise that it doesnít fit with the rest of
the piece. Also, a new word that fits better with the flow of the poem may
suddenly suggest itself.
thing that helps is that I read the dictionary for fun and have a love of words,
especially descriptive words. I love to discover new words; I then make a point
of using them in conversation, and eventually they find their way into my poems
or other writings. It is like making a new acquaintance that a few weeks later
you suddenly discover has become a favourite friend. The down side of this habit
is that not many other people read the dictionary and I quite often have to
explain exactly what I mean, but what fun when I discover a like-minded person
who doesnít mind my flapdoodle.
only other tip on writing poetry that I can offer is to write. Whether you like
the poem you have written or not is largely immaterial, but the fact that you
are getting those words out is important. The more you write the easier it
eventually gets, until words will flow from your pen or keyboard. You will learn
the rhythms that work for you, the style that suits you best.
your poetry published is another thing altogether. When you finally decide that
you are ready to offer your humble words to the world, the dazzling array of
small presses and publishers out there are enough to make you think twice. Try
your local library; they will often have details of writerís circles, literary
competitions and other snippets of information that will set your feet on the
write track. The local press may run details of competitions that the publishing
houses hold, and that is usually a good place to start. The Internet is also a
useful tool for finding out more, but do be cautious about posting your written
work without investigating the integrity of the site. Take those rejection
letters with a pinch of salt and persevere; after all, if you donít submit
your poetry, it will never be accepted.
is a lonely occupation, as any writer knows. Hours spent in solitary confinement
wrestling with characters, places, and language, those sentences that just
wonít work. Poetry is a life sentence in solitary confinement, and not many
people can understand the compulsion that drives most poets. Beware: writing
poetry is an addiction. I hope you all get hooked.