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Joanne the Poet - The Poetry of Joanne M. Clarkson

Living Like a Poet

Living Like a Poet

Joanne M. Clarkson, October 2016


  1. 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).


  1. 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.


  1. 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,


  1. 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.


  1. 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.

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