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50 Things to Do with a Poem

I started this list a few years ago and it has now grown to 50! It was one of the hand-outs at my recent Publish Your Poetry workshop. Since writers who weren’t able to attend requested a copy, I decided to post it here.

50 THINGS TO DO WITH A POEM

  1. Submit poems at least once a month to your favorite literary journals.
  2. Submit poems to journals advertising a theme.
  3. Enter poetry contests (3 or 4 a year).
  4. Create (or have someone create) a video of you reading/performing a poem. Post it on You-Tube.
  5. Create a website about you as a poet or have someone create one for you. You can write a poetry blog, post examples of your poetry, info about the other 39 places where your poetry has appeared, and a bio of your poetry self.  Be careful about posting poems that have not yet been published since some editors count online as a publication.
  6. Create a poetic Facebook page. It can be attached to your regular page but use it to post information about yourself as a poet, thoughts on poetry, information about where your poetry is being published or displayed or you can post a poem – with the same disclaimer as above.
  7. Put together a collection of your poems in a chapbook (shorter and with a theme) or as a full-length book. Or as a booklet or zine.
  8. Offer a free original poem as a prize in a charity auction.
  9. Contact a coffee shops or restaurants and offer to place your poems on tables in small display stands – like for seasons, holidays, National Poetry Month (April) or other ‘months’ like heart month.
  10. Offer to read a poem as an invocation for a meeting or gathering.
  11. Partner with an artist in an exhibit. You can write about the art or the artist can illustrate your poems.
  12. Read/perform a poem as part of a talent show.
  13. Apply to be interviewed on a radio show about poetry, local writers, how poetry can impact a cause, etc.
  14. Apply or offer to be interviewed on a website about poetry, causes, local writers, etc.
  15. Send your poetry bio and some poems to websites that feature poets like Poets West. Poets.org, OPN.
  16. Read at Open Mics
  17. Give poetry readings alone or with like-minded poets at venues like bookstores, libraries or other places that regularly host readings or might be willing to try hosting one.
  18. Offer to read a poem at a meeting or conference on a certain theme like environment, women’s issues, health
  19. Post a poem on a Poetry post or bulletin board. There are at least 3 poetry posts in Olympia.
  20. Encourage a place (like the Senior Center) to host a poetry board and offer to find the poetry for it.
  21. Teach a poetry workshop for a writers group.
  22. Teach a poetry workshop as part of a larger conference or retreat – like Women’s Day of Empowerment.
  23. Give a poem as a birthday or other gift to close friends.
  24. Send a poem on an issue important to a political figure.
  25. Pass out short poems or lines as party favors (showers, birthdays, retirement)
  26. Offer to write poems for friends or others – to commemorate an occasion like a wedding, anniversary or graduation.
  27. Participate in poetry postcard month in August.
  28. Publish a poem in a journal or magazine or newsletter than has nothing to do with poetry: local group, food, pets, caregiving, etc.
  29. Contribute a poem on a memorial site for a friend who has passed.
  30. Give the gift of a poem to someone who is sick.
  31. Partner with a musician and write song lyrics. Or if you can, write your own song.
  32. Participate regularly in a writers’ group.
  33. Tweet a short poem or a few poetic lines.
  34. Read or share poetry in a group or singly on local community television.
  35. Write poems about ‘place’ such as a city, wilderness area, park and send or post them on venues associated with that place.
  36. Attend a poetry conference.
  37. Offer to mentor a beginning poet.
  38. Find a poetry mentor and you admire and work with them.
  39. Keep a poem journal or diary just for yourself. Write the thoughts and dreams you have in the most beautiful words and word combinations that you can find.
  40. Volunteer to teach a poetry class at a women’s shelter, an after school program, at a prison or for another group.
  41. Create a poetry dialog with another poet (s) where you send them a poem a month to appreciate/critique and they send you one.
  42. Write a poem about an experience you shared with a friend and write a poem to commemorate the experience. Send the poem to them.
  43. Do a poetry residence. We have the beautiful Hypatia retreat center near us in Shelton.
  44. Pledge to write a poem a day for a month.
  45. Subscribe to at least one literary journal a year that you really like and read it thoroughly.
  46. Donate annually to a poetry cause or organization.
  47. Memorize several of your own poems and repeat them to yourself and others.
  48. Memorize poems by your favorite poets that you love so that you know them ‘by heart.’
  49. Apply to be an associate editor or reader on a literary journal or website.
  50. Attend at least one poetry conference or workshop a year.

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