This time Pegs of Pegspot asked “How do you write your poems? What do you write about? What gets you started? How do you build the poem? How do you know when to stop” In the Writers Digest forum.
I gave a lame excuse as to why I didn’t have time to post a reply. Well it was a true reason but I also wanted to think on it a bit, try to arrange my thoughts in some kind of cohesive order. And now I’m just typing this hype as a stall tactic. (Which is weird because I want to write this.)
I’m going to start with: ‘What gets you started and What do you write about’ as they are sorta the same for me.
No one can tell you how to get an idea, inspiration if you will, or what to write about. I can only tell you what works most of the time for me, but know that these “most of the times” can change. To want- need to write poetry is the first step. You need to open your heart, thought processes and all your 6 senses, because it does take all these to work together.
My topics come from everywhere, everything, everyone and any other “every”, you can think of. I become ‘that thing’ of the poem I’m writing whether it is a person, place, thing, or other. I have even written of phrases that I mis-heard or mis-read. For instance one of my favorite pieces of my own work is Ghetto Lullaby. That came about because one day when I was driving home I tried to read what was on a back window of someone’s pickup. I still don’t know what it really said, but it made me think ghetto lullaby: just what does that sound like, why would someone put that on a window and then the pictures and sounds came to mind
I have been motivated to write about something because I read someone else’s poem that triggered something in me. (Oh, when I say something like that I mean the “me” that is the togetherness of all 6 senses.) Not that I think I can say it better than they did but because it evokes a response from me. And don’t forget there is the “answer”, a reply, to someone’s work of poetry, song or art.
Examples of things that are fair game and may become poems for me are…
Whacked out dreams, mine or someone else’s
Current news events, deaths, illness, weather
Religion, the earth, outer space, color, lack of color
Sex, love, untouchable concepts, nature
Food, buildings, shoes, sounds,
Life, don’t forget this is the starting point for everything
I use prompts at times. Prompt: to move or induce to action; to occasion or incite, inspire; to assist by suggestion. In fact I have an actual container that I keep them in and when I feel like it I take one out and think about what is on the little slip of paper mull it over and around, from the outside in and then write my poem. This month I am using the prompts that are being provided by Robert over at Poetic Asides. A long time ago I learned that I cannot read any one’s work until after I write mine own or it may influence me into feeling so inadequate I give up before the first stroke of ink is laid on paper.
Poetry is not an exact science, some of the forms may be, but not how you get your motivation / inspiration / reason for writing. You do need to want to write it and you should enjoy reading or at least hearing other people’s work or mine (I’m an other people). I hope this long a$$ post answered part your questions Pegs because in the end I suppose I write and read with all my 6 senses regardless of what kind of ghost I may see.
Show me what you see, feel, taste;
Show me what you want me to experience;
You know pretend I'm from Missouri
At times like these I wish I were eloquent, but alas I am how I am