Living Like a Poet
Joanne M. Clarkson, October 2016
- Poets find truth and beauty in the most unlikely places.
Focus on something, anything, in front of you right now: tea cup, bottle of catsup, calendar, what’s out the window. Write down descriptive detail and more especially associations (personal and to the larger world).
- Poets tell stories in the fewest possible words & make them memorable.
Think of something that happened to you as a child, to you this year, to someone you know, to society and use 4 or 5 well-told facts (truth is subjective; this isn’t Wikipedia) to make it vivid and create a lasting memory.
- A poet is a magician transforming one thing into another so that both become greater.
Choose two objects, experiences, life-forms that seem unrelated and link them in a poem. For instance: shoe lace/spider web, the last rose in the garden/letter written home during WWII, a sagging fence and a forgotten birthday,
- Poets love words: their sounds, relationships, uses, multiple meanings (portmanteau words).
Pick one word, fascinating in sound, meaning and association and write around it, choosing especially other words/phases that are sensory cousins (eye, ear, ‘feel,’). Some words I like: hibernaculum, mosaic, dousing.
- A poet writes down dreams.
A day or two each week write down anything you remember or think about when you first wake up. Now do a free-write, noting whatever pops into your head without judgment or editing.