I write poetry as a way for my mind to communicate with itself. Poetry to me is a gift, a voice, a drive, and a passion that is either present or absent in my life. Poetry has helped me during my battle with PTSD. Writing my struggle with PTSD down has given me the confidence to be vulnerable and allowed me to express my pain. It also helped me start my healing journey on my own terms. My poem “Blossom” was written when I felt lost and became reliant on others for happiness. I needed others to like me to grow. If you’re like me and you enjoy writing personal essays or poems, here are some tips for you future writers.
There are no established rules in poetry. Allow yourself to explore your craft and experiment with meaning and form. Allow yourself to be spontaneous and unconcerned about the end result. When you are uninhibited and free to play, some of your best work will emerge.
Simplify your word choice. As a first-time poet, you may feel that you must exclusively use abstract words and flowery language to write complex verses with a deeper meaning. The truth is that sometimes the most straightforward language combined with vivid, concrete images can produce an influential poem. Some of the most accomplished American poets use concrete words and clear language to create beautiful and affecting poetry. There is no need to consult a thesaurus or Google to find the appropriate words for your poetry. If you find yourself writing excessively, pare down your language and concentrate on the clear, concise verse.
Avoid obsessing over your opening line. If you are unable to find the exact words to begin your poem, do not despair. Continue writing and, when you’re ready, return to the first line. The opening line is only one element of a more extensive work of art. Don’t exaggerate its importance beyond what it requires (which is a common mistake among first-time poets).
Consider using your poem to tell a story. Many of the concepts expressed in a novel, short story, or essay can be expressed in a poem too. A narrative poem, such as T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land”, can be as long as a novella. Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” evokes the same sense of foreboding and menace as some horror films. As with all forms of the English language, writing poetry is about communication; so, if you feel like telling short stories in your poems, go for it.
Even if you are not a writer, I encourage you to read poetry to gain a new perspective on an old concept or observe how a poet performs verbal acrobatics. You might discover something interesting about yourself. Bear in mind that poetry is all about honesty; no one can tell you that your writing style is adequate.
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