Simple ideas for exploring poetry and using your own experience to create a poem.
By Mary Diane Hausman | Posted 1/5/05 | Updated 4/4/21
Are you ready to abandon your poems? Before you toss your newest poem away, revisit it using some exercises that have proven helpful to poets who are feeling "stuck." If you explore some of these ideas, you may be steps closer to placing your poetry in a well-known literary journal.
When writing poetry, a poet considers language. They also consider form, and may even consider audience. But that is not all. Though form serves as a vehicle or container, and audience can help drive a poem; and while it is language that gives voice to poetry, it is basically the root of the poet the poet's experience that gives voice to the voice.
Even when poetry does not reflect the poet's direct experience, it is still filtered through her or his eyes. Both poem and poet are inextricably connected; one cannot exist without the other. The material from which the poet culls the poem is that which has been sown, tilled, pulled, dumped, dredged, fermented, stored, and often kept hidden all the poet's life.
If the poet feels brave enough, or even if she is terrified beyond belief, she will excavate this treasure and use it to lay a foundation. Foundation laid, the poet then uses language to form the structure, build the ramparts which hold the poem together. Having built the poem with the blood and bone and truth of her, the poet thus offers a monument that withstands even the critic's wind. Or, at least the storm of self-doubt.
Following are some simple ideas for exploring poetry and using your own experience to create a poem. If you'd like in-depth technical information on form and poetry structure, there is a brief list of recommended books at the end of this article.
If you plan to submit your poems to a literary magazine or Web site, you can make submissions on your own, or hire some help. Every poem, on average, must be submitted to 100 markets before it is accepted. For poets, these numbers are sad, but true. Even the best poems must cover a lot of territory before they appear on the printed page. A reputable author's submission service may offer you more time to write while they take care of the submissions. Remember that a good submission service screens potential writers for quality work. They don't take everyone.
Exploring the ideas listed above may help open new doors for your writing. In addition to your poems being well crafted, they must be submitted regularly and extensively. Beat the odds with strong writing COMBINED with a powerful and tenacious submission strategy.
© 2005 Mary Diane Hausman. All rights reserved.
Mary Diane Hausman was born and raised in the Texas Hill Country, and that experience provides a strong voice for her work. Her work appears with Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, and Rita Dove in the anthology, Unsilenced: The Spirit of Women as well as in numerous other anthologies and literary journals. She teaches college level creative writing and poetry as well as public workshops. She has utilized Writer's Relief Inc., an Author's Submission Service, for ten years which frees her time to write. For more information, visit www.wrelief.com.
Creative inspiration, food for thought, prompts, and ideas for dipping deeply into your imagination and turning words and images into poetic words of art.