To Write or Not to Write Poetry: 4 Ways to Kickstart Your Knack for Poetry
Why are people drawn to poetry? As Professor John Keating once said, ““We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion.”
Being a poet now is light years away from being a poet before. These days, poets no longer have to rely solely on printing presses or publishers to share their verses with others. Through social media platforms, you can share your beloved compositions under no geographical restrictions at all. Once you post through a popular app like Instagram or Tumblr, your beautiful words will be out there for all the world to read.
A great example of this is no other than Canadian poet Rupi Kaur, who built a large following via Tumblr and then Instagram in the early 2010s. Along with others like Lang Leav, they were dubbed “Instapoets” because they gained popularity through social media platforms. By 2014, Kaur published her collection of poetry that went on to have multiple editions in 40 languages and to date has sold 2.5 million copies.
If you’re passionate about life and about being, you might have given a thought or two to putting together rhymes to express yourself or share your sentiments with others, something that’s easily plausible these days.
One doesn’t have to be an excellent wordsmith right from the start to craft poetry à la Rupi Kaur. It will take a lot of practice and commitment to hone your skills. The good news is, the road to get there is to start now, so read on below for four great tips.
- Immerse yourself in poetry.
All the great artists in the world have come to be because they were passionate about their art and totally absorbed themselves in it. Take for example, Quentin Tarantino, who’s one of the most prolific modern-day directors. Tarantino used to work for a video rental store (yes, those were a thing back then) where he had the privilege to watch countless of movies and TV shows. In the same way, you can delve into poetry. Go to your library’s poetry section. Go to your local bookstore. If you’d rather dive into poetry at the comfort of your own home, then by all means, go online. There are multitudes of options for you to binge in poetry.
- Go to poetry readings in your area.
If listening to poetry is more your forte, this is an ideal way to familiarize yourself with poetry. Libraries often hold open mic events where poets can sign up to read their verses in front of an audience, and these are at no cost. On the other hand, published poets sometimes hold a promotional tour to promote their book of poetry; though most of the time, these events are open only to those who make a purchase. In any case, you can find inspiration by listening to other poets read their work.
- Buy a guided poetry journal.
Perhaps the biggest challenge in trying your hand at writing poetry (or writing per se, for that matter) is choosing your subject. Of course, there’s the adage “write what you know,” but that’s usually harder to do than it sounds. The good news is you can turn to a guided poetry journal to get you started on what to write about because they come with prompts. Examples of these are a place you’ve traveled to, your childhood home, and what the rain reminds you of. These journals are widely available online or in stores, and all you would need to do is have your writing tool ready.
- Start small.
Don’t pressure yourself to write a Shakespeare sonnet in the beginning (maybe wait after a few tries or so). Start off with something short and sweet like a haiku or a simple rhyming poem and go from there. Also, keep an open mind that long doesn’t always mean great. The length of a poem doesn’t necessarily always equal efficiency to what the poets want to convey to their readers. Consider the well-known poem “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer. This poem only has 12 lines and 80 words but it’s fully capable of touching the hearts of its readers.
Now that you’ve read about these strategies to help you bring out the poet in you, it’s time to get started on your verse. Happy writing!
Hill, Faith and Karen Yuan. “How Instagram Saved Poetry.” The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/10/rupi-kaur-instagram-poet-entrepreneur/572746/.
MasterClass. “How to Write Poetry: 11 Rules for Poetry Writing Beginners.” https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-write-poetry#11-rules-for-writing-good-poetry.
Walker, Rob. “The Young ‘Instapoet’ Rupi Kaur: from social media star to best-selling writer.” The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/may/27/rupi-kaur-i-dont-fit-age-race-class-of-bestselling-poet-milk-and-honey.
Yang, Hannah. “5 Tips for Poetry Writing: How to Get Started Writing Poems.” ProWritingAid. https://prowritingaid.com/write-poetry.