It’s almost like a rule for people involved in romantic relationships. If they nurse any hopes of letting someone see that they really love them, they have to learn how to write poetry about them. It would be even better if they could set their words to music. But that’s another story.
Whether it’s for romantic love or not, people who enjoy reading poetry have always dreamt about writing powerful verse themselves. If you’re thinking along those lines, here’s a little help.
The thing is, artistry doesn’t just come about because you really want it. It isn’t just about setting a couple of hours aside over a weekend to see what you can do. Basically, for anyone who wishes to learn how to write poetry, the thing they need to learn is that great poetry comes from a way of life. You need to value noticing an understanding everything that happens around you.
The best thing you can do to make that happen is to actually read poetry that other people have written and read lots of it. Speaking to other poets and possibly meeting them can be invaluable to learning how to live the life and be a poet. It’s become a lot easier these days that it used to be.
To begin with, the poetic community is out in force on the Internet. You can meet all kinds of poets and lovers of poetry. If you could attend a reading or a workshop for budding poets that would really put you in touch with what it means to write poetry. Become a part of that community for long enough, and you’ll even find a mentor.
They will often tell you that you need to become sensitive to learn how to write poetry. To become sensitive is not to become gentle. They’re two completely different things. You don’t have to write about flowers and the moon to be a poet. You have to write about what is important to you. If beer, crystal meth and knife fights on the street are what are important to you, there’s no one who says you can’t write poetry about that.
But you do have to be sensitive about everything that goes on and everything you feel to do with these things. That’s how they write death metal songs about hard partying. The lyrics they write for death metal rock is poetry too. Another word for “sensitive” the way they mean it would be “alert”. For no reason are you to give up being who you really are just to write poetry. That would be exactly the wrong thing to do.
Writing poetry seems natural for the young, yet their poetry shows their age. They have not reached a level of experience and maturity, a depth of understanding, that seems to be demonstrable in the best of our poets. The young also seem to take to music with keener interest then the more mature. Even before they have known love, great despair, the agony of life and the euphoria of life’s triumphs, they seem able to compose beautiful music in which even the more sophisticated find aesthetic pleasure. This is because the heart comes equipped with the range of emotions that music can represent, and these emotions are also to be found in poetry. But music is not enough for a poem.
Experience and knowledge is also required. Thus, the youth, before their minds have had the opportunity to correlate lived experience with those musical patterns, those flows and harmonies that seem there in the heart as if an instinct, generally produce poetry that lacks depth. Unfortunately, Hegel is right, writing poetry, while requiring the forms of music, also requires a depth of understanding and experience if the poem is to be more than an expression of the superficial or trite.
The first step to actually writing poetry would be to write prose. Poetry, you could say, is a very economically written prose. You could make your mind up about what you want to write about, and write a couple of pages about it – like an article or something.
And then, you could think of ways to condense it, and condense it, and condense it. The best way to write poetry is to start with a clearly written description of what your poetry is about to say. Once you have the material before you, seeing it in the poetic way becomes much simpler.