In the United States, we seem to have a day or a month for pretty much everything: “Talk Like A Pirate Day,” “Administrative Assistant Day,” and even perhaps, “We Needed a Day Just to Have a Special Day, Day.”
While I write poetry on a daily basis, it is always comforting to have a new challenge to overcome my poetic writing block, as I find poetry is best written in the moment – capturing what I am feeling. Ah yes, the moment. Perhaps this is why I extensively use Twitter to engage my followers in micro-poetry and haiku. I have found daily word prompts for haiku, tanka, orjay, etc., which provides a vibrant community of interaction amongst Twitter poets and brands that I love and adore.
In addition to these daily prompts, April in considered to be National Poetry Writing Month, where writers of all ages and sorts are encouraged to write a poem each day, thusly yielding “30 Poems in 30 Days.”
For National Poetry Writing Month, I use the prompts from one website,NaPoWriMo, but there are multiple sources, such as The American Academy of Poets, to encourage and even promote an individuals poetry.
Therefore, this April I completed my second consecutive year of this writing exercise (self gratuitous plug: here is my collection), which I know makes me a better writer and poet; however, I am often asked how can one quickly and easily write poetry.
For me, perhaps it’s thirty years of writing poetry, but times have certainly changed due to technology. Perhaps as late as 15 years ago, I would lug around Robert Frost books or pocket anthologies in my ruck sack, right alongside my dictionary and thesaurus, so that I could fill up my Moleskine notebooks with sonnets, haiku, couplets, lunes or a plethora of other poetic structures. Okay, so I still lug around the books below, but for reading purposes only.
However, in today’s world of technology, I lug around two iPhones, two iPads and a 17 inch Macbook Pro, but my poetry always starts with my Moleskine notebook, yet ends up on a social networking site.
To illustrate how I, and hopefully you after reading this, can write a poem in less than 30 minutes, let’s take a look at my poem titled, Within My Abyss that I wrote for National Poetry Writing Month on April 28, 2013:
The first step for me is picking the theme for the poem. The prompt for this day was to pick a poem describing a color. Easy. Step one was completed for me. Now, most of the poems I wrote for National Poetry Writing Month had some reference to the word “Within”, somewhat a theme within a theme. The reason why I chose this “theme” was in tribute to was a family member had recently passed away from Alzheimer’s. I always imagined Alzheimer’s would be similar to being trapped “Within” one’s mind.
So to recap: step one — pick a theme. This was now down. I chose the color black, which could represent a hole, darkness, a chasm and yes, an abyss.
Step two: now that I have my theme, I open my dictionary. Haha. No longer do I need to carry my Merriam-Webster dictionary, but I press the home screen on my iPhone and open my Merriam-Webster app (step up and buy the full version).
I write down words from the full definition of the word, as well as all of the synonyms that are associated with the word or theme. But here is where the full paid version of the application is important: the thesaurus.
The thesaurus is any writers, let alone a poets, best friend as it helps one find synonyms and antonyms, that I wouldn’t normally think of because hey, I’m just a poet, not a walking encyclopedia as I really subscribe to Albert Einstein’s theory of “Never memorize something you can look up.” It’s just how I live my life, although my brain is stuff with more random, useless facts than a Jeopardy contestant.
So to illustrate step two, on April 28th, 2013, the color was black, my word was abyss. The following words were now penciled into my Moleskine: bottomless, chasm, deep, gulf, ocean, cleft crevasse, etc. I now had the foundation to move on to step three: rhyming words.
Whether one is a writer, poet, rapper or lyricist or just someone funny, how many times have you heard someone say a version phrase: “I’m a poet who didn’t know it.” Well I am a poet and I know it, but here is how you can become a poet, rapper or lyricist too: get the Rhymezone app.
The Rhymezone iOS app is a must have for any budding poet, whether it’s my ten-year old lad or a poet laureate. While I don’t use this app nearly as much as I could, Rhymezone has enabled me to write poetry quickly, concisely and quite effectively.
So getting back to my poem from April 28th, 2013, typing in “abyss” into my Rhymezone app, words such amiss, bliss, remiss, diss, reminisce, etc., all stared back at me.
However, just because a writer now has a bunch of synonyms, antonyms and rhyming words now written down on a piece of paper or in my case, a tattered Moleskine, one still has to be able to cohesively write a poem through structure, which brings me to step four: syllables.
Deep down, I believe we all all some form of obsessive compulsive disorder. My OCD, just happens to be with syllables. Perhaps it is because of my fondness for haiku, which in Western society is considered to be a three-line poem, using seventeen syllables, in five-seven-five respectively. It’s easy to do, here is a Vine on how to haiku:
Counting syllables in poetry is not something novel, but it also helps me with timing, so nearly every stanza of long-form poetry I write, will follow the same syllable structure. The reason I do this is to challenge myself to not become lost within adding additional words. It also makes for great spoken word poetry, which I have recorded with music and beats. Huzzah! I’m now a rapper. *Giggles*
For example, my April 28, 2013 poem, each line consists of 11 syllables. Hard to do? Yes, but keeps a clean structure and keeps the words flowing. If you have concerns about the numbes of syllables in a word, try to stick with one source. I prefer the same Merriam-Webster dictionary app, which clearly shows the syllables in the phonetic spelling. Another good source if you are — eghads — not on a mobile device is the syllable counting section of Poetry Soup’s website.
For example, my April 28, 2013 poem, each line consists of 11 syllables. Hard to do? Yes, but keeps a clean structure and keeps the words flowing.
So there you have it, Easy Peasy Poetry: four steps to writing poetry.
- Pick a theme
- Define your theme, including synonyms and antonyms
- Write down all of your rhyming words
- Pick a structure and stick to it.
If you can do these four steps, you are well on your way to writing Easy Peasy Poetry. Throw in a cool photo and you have poetic art, which is beautiful. So now that you know how I write poetry, following my recipe, here is Within My Abyss
The depth of the chasm, inside my black hole…
…I am squinting with feigned, stained acuity.
Climbing out my crevice, it’s taking a toll…
…the widening fissure, of vacuity.
Stuck in my hollow pit, my cavernous cleft…
…without any escape, I am trapped once more.
Expanse of nothingness, wondering what’s left…
…while falling back down, I’ve settled the score.
My surrounding system, an airtight vacuum…
…the sign outside the door, says ONE VACANCY.
The walls are closing in, my impending doom…
…the burning neon sign, it does comfort me.
Never expansion, only contraction…
…within my abyss, I swallow the light.
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About The Product Poet:
Product placement poetry.
Blended together. #haiku
The Product Poet is just a Poet with a love of haiku and brands. As the Chief Poet, The Product Poet focuses extensively on brand engagement and building of on-line communities through a unique blend of poetry and branding. In approximately two years, across various social networks,
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