Saturday, May 1, 2010

How Zap Your Poetic Creativity!

Writing poetry is fun. But it's not easy. It's a matter of going to that creative zone with our senses wide open. It takes concentration. We want to avoid all those trite and tired metaphors often found in popular music, magazines, and films. We want to produce an original. But this doesn't mean we need to go crazy with difficult words which mainstream readers have never heard of, unless of course, your plan is to annoy them! A poet needs to find ways to use ordinary words in new ways.

So where does a poet find ordinary words that can be used to create new and original poems? There are a lots of ways. Have you ever seen refrigerator magnets used to create poetry? It was a popular gift for a while. The words were typed on magnetic strips. And they were sold in boxes with different themes like gardening, parenting, romance etc. But it's not necessary to buy magnetic words. You can do it yourself. Not magnets, I mean that you can decide on a theme and find words! I decided to write down words that I encountered at the office where I clean. One rule, I could only write down words that I saw written on different objects. It was kind of fun. So I created the office theme!

Now, what do we do with all our words? Sandford Lyne has written a great book called Writing poetry from the inside out. Finding your voice through the craft of poetry. Sandford uses a method that he calls Poem-Sketching. He makes word groups. Each group has four words: a couple of nouns, an adjective, and a verb.

Here are an example of a few groups from my office list.


  1. Wall, Hewlett Packard, extra wide, laugh.
  2. Knight, department, husky, love.
  3. Handicap door, mommy, perfect, lead.
  4. Xerox, budget, durable, smoke.
  5. Project, peanut, simple, injure.
  6. Tony, in-box, damp, change.


Okay, you get the idea. If you want to mix groups and change things around, go right ahead. You make the rules. The idea is to zap your creativity started and get the poetic river flowing from your brain. All the little words like: he, she, and, then, how, if, in , on, you add as needed. Let me know if this works! Which themes did you come up with?

Previous post: Great News! My Poem Was Published

4 comments:

  1. I envy anyone who can write poetry although I think this is an excellent exercise for anyone. I really like the idea of using ordinary words in new ways. I'm up for anything that inspires and gets the creative juices flowing.

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  2. Thank you. Anyone can write poetry!

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  3. Poetry is fun and personal and can even be private, if you like. Each of us comes from a different time and place and our use of words is unique. I urge everyone to try their hand at poetry......create!

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  4. Susan, you are so right! I forgot about private poems. Those are usually the best ones.

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