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6 tips for writing a poem this National Poetry Day

In celebration of National Poetry Day, we‘re asking you to channel your inner Whitman and send us your musings from lockdown. Whether you’re a seasoned wordsmith or only now putting pen to paper isn’t important. It could be a post-milk run reflection or your first crack at a haiku, there’s no such thing as a bad idea.

We’ve teamed up with Ryan Ashley to give us a hand in picking our winners, giving you the chance to see your poem in the app, and in turn, be read the world over. Not only that, but you’ll also receive a personal poem from Ryan. All you have to do is DM us your work on Instagram.

To help you get started, here are some tips from the man himself on writing a good poem.

In your eyes, what makes a good poem?

Poetry is the space between direct language. It is a way you can articulate your thoughts and ideas within words so that they have the capacity to paint a broader and deeper picture of what it is you are trying to say. Every word on its own has life, and when you look at the vastness of the English language you can start to wrap your head around how infinite the possibility of poetry is. There is great irony in this, but honestly describing what poetry truly is, is quite hard for me. What I can offer is some imagery that conveys poetry to me, and in turn, could be a poem.

Here are my Top 6 tips for writing a poem…

  1. Write from a place of inspiration.

Try to realize the miracle of all the things around you… whether a beautiful sunset, your dog taking a nap in a particularly cute position, the way your name sounds coming out of a loved one’s mouth, or simply a song or the captivation of any given moment… this life is full of awe and if you want to write great poetry it is best to start realizing it and observing it.

2. Observation.

Pay attention, make mental notes of the things you are seeing and feeling. Every time you feel an emotion if you can identify how, where, and why it happened you are on your way to being able to create some deeply moving words.

3. Go Deep.

Don’t be afraid to write your deepest, darkest, brightest, and most sacred thoughts down. It is actually quite healthy to do so and the more you do it the more you will be able to pull from when constructing a beautiful poem.

4. Comparison.

Your love is like ________? Your love is like a sunset, the smell of the sky before it rains, a perfect song, etc, etc. Poetic comparison is a fun and playful way to create a poem. Everything in this life is like something else in some way shape or form, and you as the writer have the power to stretch your imagination to create a bridge that does just that…. Compares one thing with something completely different, but uniquely alike in its inspiration.

5. Read a poem a day….

I have many poetry books on my bookshelf, but I also have google and an email service that sends me a random “poem of the day”. The more you read, the more inspired you will become.

6. Last but not least. Let it be fun, let it be creative, and don’t judge yourself too harshly.

Sure, some poems are perhaps better than others (that is subjective), but the only real bad poem is the one that never got written. In my experience, there are poets out there who are a bit stuffy and high and mighty with their craft, but they are not the ambassadors to good poetry. Good poetry comes from the heart, and everyone has a heart so open it up, write it down, and feel inspired by doing so. Poetry is the art of playing with words, and playing is supposed to be fun!

TouchNote / September 2020
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