Writing Poetry

fancy pen
I am a Year 10 student in XXX. As part of the Middle Years Program, I am required to complete a Personal Project. For this project, I have chosen to write several poems, and put them into a book format. Your website has helped me understand what the components of a poem are, and the terminology surrounding poetry. I would be extremely grateful if you could help me further. Do you have any tips for students when they are writing poetry? In your opinion, should I plan first, and deliberately use poetry techniques, or should I let the ideas flow? I appreciate any advice you can give me, and this would honestly help me so much”
I received this email recently and figured I’d publish my reply in case it’s of any use to those of you out there suffering from poet’s block:
My advice is this: when I’m writing poetry I try to just let the ideas flow onto the page first. Whatever you are thinking and feeling spit it out.
Then I go back and look for the places where I’ve used the same idea more than once. I select the line which best expresses the idea in question and cross out the other lines which are simply saying the same thing in a different way.
I do this for all of the ideas at the core of the poem.
At the end of this process I’ll usually only end up keeping about one third of what I originally wrote.
So having gotten the ideas out, and then edited out the unnecessary repetition of ideas, I pretty much dismantle the poem and then build it up a second time, this time paying more attention not just to WHAT I want to say but also to HOW I want to express it. This is the point at which I become more deliberate in my use of poetic techniques.
Then I leave it for a day or two.
When I take my third pass at the poem, this is usually where it all starts to come together and start to resemble a proper poem rather than just a bunch of ideas thrown onto a page randomly.
I’m sure there are lots of ways of approaching poetry, but this is how I do it!
Hope that helps,