5 Poetry Tips from Famous Poets

5 Poetry Tips from Famous Poets

1. Maya Angelou

“You have to get to a very quiet place inside yourself.  And that doesn’t mean that you can’t have noise outside. I know some people who put jazz on, loudly, to write. I think each writer has her or his secret path to the muse. I’m told one writer stands for six hours with a typewriter on a podium—he stands and types. And I know a woman who has her computer in a closet and she goes in, closes the door, and, with her back to the door and her face to the wall, she writes.” (Source)

2. Sir Andrew Motion

“Tap into your own feelings. I never quite believe it when poets say that they’re not writing out of their own feelings, and when that is the case, I tend not to be terribly interested in what they’re doing.

I don’t mean to say that they are writing bad poems, but those aren’t the poems that I like most. The poems I most like are where the engine is a very emotional one, where the warmth of strong feeling is very powerfully present in the thing that is being given to us. I think poetry is a rather emotional form and when it isn’t that, I’m not very interested in it.” (Source)

3. Edgar Allan Poe

Decide on the desired effect. The author must decide in advance “the choice of impression” he or she wishes to leave on the reader. (Source 1) (Source 2)

4. Ezra Pound

“A Few Don’ts” about writing poetry. In 1913, Pound wrote an essay entitled “A Few Don’ts.” In a nutshell, the rules state that each verse should be lean and purposeful, with no frills or filler to provide padding. They also emphasize the importance of possessing an awareness of the work of previous poets, and of using this understanding in the creation of new work. Please refer to the Website to see Pound’s complete list. (Source)

5. Henry David Thoreau

Understand the power of each word. “A written word is the choicest of relics. It is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. It is the work of art nearest to life itself. It may be translated into every language, and not only be read but actually breathed from all human lips;- not be represented on canvas or in marble only, but be carved out of the breath of life itself. The symbol of an ancient man’s thought becomes a modern man’s speech.”(Source 1) (Source 2)

One thought on “5 Poetry Tips from Famous Poets

  1. I’ve always been too intimidated to try writing poetry. I like to read it and hear it, but it’s a skill-set that I definitely don’t possess. This blog post is great. It makes writing poetry seem more approachable, but also, Thoreau’s quote makes it seem like it’s a necessary part of human expression. I love that. I might even be inspired to give it a try. Thanks for the awesome post!

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