Each April is a chance to celebrate the largest literary celebration in the world: National Poetry Month. It’s a month that highlights the extraordinary work composed by poets to help encourage the reading of poems across the globe.
Our team is fortunate to have Tony Award-Winning poet and actor Poetri underneath the AP tent as our Director of Creative and Development. We’re even luckier to be able to participate in his 2nd annual AP Poetry Lounge and take some time to learn and better ourselves on the art of word play.
National Poetry Month inspired us to sharpen our creative writing skills. Poetri so graciously laid out a simple game plan in writing a great poem, whether you’re poet, or don’t even know it yet!
Poetri’s Top 8 Tips to Writing a Great Poem:
1. Pick a topic that you are passionate about. Passion is the energy that will drive your words into a masterpiece. Write about something you love, something you hate, or even something you don’t understand, just make sure to be passionate about it!
2. Write from your heart. There’s not one person in the world that can argue with your heart. We may not agree with it, but we most certainly have to respect it. So, if your poem starts and ends with that muscle inside your rib cage, you will never go wrong.
3. Be you! If you are doing number 2, then this one should be simple. There is only one of you. People can detect rather easily, when you are trying to be someone else. What would you say? Don’t try to say what others would say?
4. Don’t try to write a poem. People think that a poem must be written a certain way. Forget about everything they taught you in school about poetry. Write whatever is in your heart … doesn’t matter how many syllables … don’t worry about if it rhymes or not … just write … and when you get done … call it a poem. Call it a work of art.
5. Be confident. Anything you do in life is better when you are confident. Writing is no different. If you think every line you are going to write is bound to be wack. Guess what? It will be! Whether you think it is good or bad, you will be right?
6. Repetition. I do this to get in and stay in a groove. After every few lines, I read back the entire poem that I wrote up to that point. If you keep doing this, not only will the poem flow better, but you might even have it memorized by the time you are done.
7. Use a thesaurus. A thesaurus is a poet’s best friend. Pick up the book and choose a better word for that word that you are trying to say. Don’t go overboard and use big gigantic words that you can’t pronounce. Still be familiar with the word … but change it up a little bit.
8. Have fun. Enjoy it. Who wants to labor on and on writing a poem? That poem will be the longest, most boring poem ever written. No, enjoy the task. Smile while you are writing it. Laugh even. (Of course, not so much if it is a sad poem, but either way, enjoy it.)
With this year marking our 2nd annual AP Poetry Workshop, we wanted to share a few poems written by our team with Poetri’s tips from above.
Beyond the aspect of getting to write and recite our own poems, AP Copy Editor / Writer, Franklin Thomas, enjoyed the experience of from the poetry workshop for two reasons:
1. Get Out the Draft. The time constraints of the exercises forces participants to kick out prose that may not be perfect; that is, a rough draft. For many writers that initial rough draft is the most difficult. A first draft is never going to be perfect (or even good), but a first draft is something on which to hang future ideas and organization to create something that an author is more apt to be pleased with.
2. Follow Your Pen. Starting a creative work under the time constraint of an exercise meant starting something without having any idea of where it’s going to go. I started a couple of poems not having a clue where they were going narrative-wise or where they would end up. Now almost all professional projects have some sort of parameters. For creative work without any brief, draft, strategy, story arc, direction or even purpose, sometimes it’s valuable to just step off and see where a narrative goes. Although none of what I wrote is going to appear on the short list for any poetry competitions, I was somewhat pleased that the results eventually made a little sense, and more importantly, I was very pleased with the process. But you must step off. Exercises help. Sometimes you find a narrative and sometimes it finds you ... and sometimes there is no narrative, which can be brilliant in its own way.
As a creative agency, we feel it’s important explore new art forms to help foster creativity and get our creative juices flowing. National Poetry Month allowed us to do just that. We hope these tips help you next time you feel stuck in a creative rut.