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Daily Archives: January 24, 2012

Guest post: ‘So you think you cannot write poetry?’ by Cendrine Marrouat

I’m delighted to bring you tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of poetry, by Cendrine Marrouat.

So you think you cannot write poetry?

A lot of people think that poetry requires special powers or skills. On the contrary, I have always believed that anyone (yes, ANYONE) can create great poetry. And today, I want to teach you how to do that. So, let’s start!

When you are a newbie, ‘professionals’ will give you all kinds of advice: “Read a lot of poets, emulate them, learn forms and rhymes!” While this may be very valuable advice for some people, it may not work for others. So, when someone asks me for guidance, I always answer with a question: “Why do you want to write poetry?” I believe that if you pour your heart and soul into something, it will always turn out great. And the same goes with poetry.

1) Start with prose

Prose is the ordinary language without metrical structure. It is used in letters, e-mails, documents, newspaper articles, novels, short stories, etc.

As an example of prose, I will use the following passage from my introduction to my second last book, Project: HeartbeatsandElevation: “The way each individual interprets words and phrases, rhythm and sounds does not matter. It is all about firm belief; belief in the beauty of nature, life, love, and possibilities. Of course, one will always find pain, misunderstanding, as well as anger along the way. However, if one can see beyond those hurdles, the rewards will be bountiful!”

2) Start a new line with each occurrence of a normal pause

This is something I did a lot at the beginning of my career. Below is my rendition of the aforementioned passage.

“The way each individual interprets words and phrases,
Rhythm and sounds does not matter.
It is all about firm belief;
Belief in the beauty of nature, life, love, and possibilities.
Of course, one will always find pain, misunderstanding,
As well as anger along the way.
However, if one can see beyond those hurdles,
The rewards will be bountiful!”

(Capitalization at the beginning of each line is optional.)

3) Experiment with the white page

“The way
Each individual interprets
Words and phrases,
Rhythms and sounds
Does not matter.

It is all about firm belief;
Belief in the beauty of
Nature,
Life,
Love, and
Possibilities.

Of course,
One will always find pain,
Misunderstanding,
As well as anger…

Along the way.

However, if one can see
Beyond those hurdles,
The rewards will be bountiful!”

Let the fun begin! You are the creator of the poem; hence you can do whatever you want with it.

4) Perfecting the poem

Once you are done experimenting, just leave the poem aside for a while. That way, you can come up with fresh ideas. These ideas include punctuation, synonyms, and rhymes (optional). Use RhymeZone. The website is excellent!

“The way
Each individual re-creates
Words and phrases
Rhythms and sounds
Matters not.
It is all about firm belief;
Belief in the beauty of
Nature,
Life,
Love, and
Possibilities.

Indeed,
One will always encounter pain
Misunderstanding
And anger

Along the way.

Yet, if the eye can see
Beyond those hurdles,
The rewards will be bountiful!”

(Do not forget to add a title! :))

5) Editing

Editing your poem is a very important step in the creation process. However, it is often neglected. GrammarBook.com or YourDictionary.com are excellent places to review grammar rules. SpellCheck.net is very helpful if you are unsure of the spelling of some words. Otherwise, here is a list of interesting links:

CommoneslspellingmistakesandconfusingwordsinEnglishlanguage;

CommonErrorsinEnglishUsage;

Typotionary;

Wikipedia: Listsofcommonmisspellings;

100 MostOftenMispelledMisspelledWordsinEnglish;

150 MoreOftenMispelledMisspelledWordsinEnglish;

Misspelled.com.

You should be on your way now!

6) Last pieces of advice

Practice is essential: write, write, write… And also, read a lot, to expand your vocabulary. Do not hesitate to look for the definitions of words with which you are unfamiliar. Here is a list of useful online dictionaries: WikipediaWikitionary, yourDictionary.com, Dictionary.com, Merriam-WebsterOnline.

Do not be afraid to share your poetry with others. You will receive very valuable feedback. However, always take comments with a grain of salt. While they can help you perfect your craft, no one can be in your head.

If you publish your poems online (blog, website, forums, etc.), do not forget to copyright them to avoid any problem. You can use two excellent (free) resources: Myfreecopyright and CreativeCommons.

Last, but not least, do not let anyone tell you what will work for you. Always be true to who you are and NEVER compare yourself with other poets! Your style is unique, and so is your message. Have fun, and do not be too harsh on yourself.

Thank you very much for reading!

Thank you so much for writing, Cendrine. As a reluctant poet, I feel a little braver now!

Cendrine Marrouat is a self-taught, bilingual entrepreneur with eight years of experience in the freelance industry. This former teacher is a journalist, reviewer, blogger and author who focuses on social media for small businesses and independent artists. Her articles have appeared in a number of websites and blogs, including Examiner.comDigitalJournal, Blogcritics, Technorati, and CreativeRamblings.

Originally from France, she currently resides in Winnipeg, Canada, and holds a bachelor degree in English to French translation.

For more great articles on social media, as well as news, reviews, and interviews, be sure to visit www.cendrinemarrouat.com and sign up for the daily newsletter. Come and say ‘hi’ on FacebookGoogle+ and / or Twitter! You can also read my interview with Cendrine and see her list of books on this blog’s Books – other people’s page.

I’m looking for poetry for ‘Post-weekend Poetry‘ and have spaces from next Monday!

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me at morgen@morgenbailey.com with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please” (while quietly bouncing up and down in my seat with joy!).

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with memoirist Alexia Fraser – the two hundred and fifty-ninth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in ebooks, Facebook, ideas, poetry, tips, Twitter, writing

 

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