Tag Archives: Advice on writing poetry

Tsk, Tsk!!!!

Tsk, Tsk!!!

Though I applaud your intellect, your word-usage and clarity,
I’m taking steps to deal with your outlandish temerity.
Since I sincerely hold that obscure words should be panned,
hereby, I proclaim that such smug words will be banned.
So words like “impignorate”—found in no sane vocabulary
hereafter will be turned in to the lexicon constabulary!

Word prompts today are steps, temerity, impignorate and  proclaim

Check List for a Budding Poet

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Check List for a Budding Poet

If you want to be prolific,
better that you be specific,
and when you choose to state each fact,
try to make each word exact.
Don’t use time-worn words or wilted.
Avoid pretentious words or stilted.

Never try to force a rhyme.
Do not fail to take the time
to make your lines scan smoothly for,
uneven meter is a bore.
Words written for effect are hollow,
but where heart is, the head will follow.

So write your poetry from the heart.
Put your horse before the cart
and let it pull you up the hill.
Let your words express their will—
you following blindly, just to see
what the next line wants to be.

Let words of different shapes and sizes
furnish pleasure and surprises.
Make your poems resemble zoos
of striped okapis and kangaroos.
Delight yourself and then your reader.
Follow words, then be their leader

by whipping them in line and order,
shaping them within your border.
It never is too late to change
an errant line that’s out of range,
but editing is not what you
initially should seek to do.

Words give hearts tongues to share their pleasure
and their pain in equal measure.
Essayists and authors strive
to make their writings come alive.
They show us where their minds have been,
but poets put the music in.

 

For dVerse Poets “List Poem” Prompt

Poet Pie: NaPoWriMo 2019, Apr 28

The NaPoWriMo prompt today was to write a poem about poetry. I wrote this poem two years ago for NaPoWriMo, but it is perfect for this prompt, so I’m reblogging it. I also wrote another fresh poem today which you can find HERE.

lifelessons - a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

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Poet Pie

Pick an armful of fresh words from the poet tree.
Trim off dry leaves. Dispose of the ordinary or over-ripe.
Choose words that flower when juxtaposed.
Choose tiny clinging bees that sting.
Choose pollen dusted blossoms that make you sneeze.
Choose fragile leaves that swing when you breathe on them,
staunch stalks that do not budge.
Throw them in a vase so that they go where they want to go,
then rearrange to suit your fancy.

Admire your arrangement
as you bring a stock to boil.
This stock consists of honey and vinegar,
water to float the theme,
lightly peppered with adjectives
and salted with strong verbs.

When the water boils, break nouns from your bouquet.
Tender stalks may be sliced to syllables, but leave the flowers whole.
Do not cook too long lest they be too weak to chew upon.

Scoop with a wire ladle and lay…

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How to Write a Poem

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How to Write a Poem

Only a fool waits for a poem to come to him.
You have to call for it like a proper blind date,
knocking on its door
and seeing beauty in whatever opens it.

Take it dancing.
Twirl it around the floor,
letting words fly off in all directions.

Leave what flutters off alone.
Someone else will pick it up
and dance with it.
No word is a wallflower,
although some are chosen more frequently to dance.
Those are the words to avoid.
 
Do not always choose the prettiest words.
In the dance of the poem,
the ugliest of words acquire a charm.

Do not insist that you yourself lead.
Let the poem, instead, draw you
off the dance floor,
out the door
and down the path
to deep woods
where all the wild words live.

Gather them in bouquets
or weave them into chains
to crown your head––
that head of the poet
who follows where the poems go
and collects them by armfuls to share with the world.

 

The NaPoWriMo prompt today is to write a poem about how to do something. Three of the other four prompts I follow had the word “fool” as the prompt. No surprise. The fourth had the prompt “down.” Here are the links:
https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/rdp-monday-fool/
https://fivedotoh.com/2019/04/01/fowc-with-fandango-fool/
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/your-daily-word-prompt-fool-april-1-2019/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/down/

Juxtaposition

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Juxtaposition

Artistic types must juxtapose
these to these and those to those
just for the contrast, I suppose.
Somehow, each artist simply knows
to vary hues that they impose
upon the subjects that they chose
to depict first in line and pose.

Poets may likewise words oppose,
and so may writers given to prose.
Composers also juxtapose
in sonatas or do si dos
whatever music sweetly flows
from saxophone, fiddle or Bose.

Shoulder to shoulder, nose to nose
such contrasts form the undertows
that draw attention, lift our lows
stir lethargy and banish woes.

As all these contrasts come to blows,
so our imagination grows.
Time enough to nap and doze
when life draws nearer to its close.
For now, stay open  to the shows
of all who seek to juxtapose.

 

The prompt today is juxtapose.

Mentoring Poetry

Since the prompt today is “mentor,”  I am going to send you back in time three years to a poem I wrote about mentoring that I have no memory of having written, so even if you were around way back then, perhaps you’ll be ready to read it again as well.  Here is the link.

 

The prompt today is mentor.

Let There be Light

Sometimes, to get to that authentic part of ourselves where poetry resides, we have to illuminate some dark corners.

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Let There Be Light


My mind is a growling dog.
While I stew and fuss,
fulfilling lists,
she jumps the screen door,
beckoning.
Rude me, to turn my back
on the only playmate
who wants to play
the same games I do
every day, every hour,
because I fear that initial
plodding through silt
page after page
in search of the stream
of words.

Sometimes boredom
yawns so wide
that I have to enter it,
to wander its inner closet
where for decades
only cobwebs
have stirred.
In some dark corner
where I spank the dog
or search the bedside table drawers
of a lover called out at midnight,
I find the river’s source,
but then
the phone
rings and I’m off
gathering crumbs from a forest path,
leaving lost children
stranded in their own story.

Stray puppies—I collect every one,
wild orange funnel flowers
and guava
washed in an afternoon kitchen
just before the invasion
of five o’clock sunlight.
All of them I carry back
to hidden places
to rub against each other
and ignite
into the language of this place
where life goes in,
plays dress-up,
but emerges
nude,
like poetry.

 

If you’ve been following me for four years, you’ve seen this one before. The prompt word today was authentic.

This Poem is a Sort of Street

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This Poem is a Sort of Street

This poem is a sort of street.
I wonder who I’m going to meet
as I walk down the dust of it––
plod along the “must” of it.
I do not know where I am going.
I follow it while never knowing
what’s around the next blind bend.
I do not know how it will end.

Each line is a new adventure
leading to acclaim or censure.
The GPS that’s guiding me––
determining what I will see––
is lodged so deep and far inside
a road stretched out so long and wide
that it must guide or I’ll get lost
in ruts of words and pay the cost

of trying to control by mind––
a street that’s meant to twist and wind
guided by a force within
that is intuitive and yin.
It is a guide that’s mostly lost
in this world so tempest-tossed.
The drop of it that I infuse
in rhymes that others then may choose

to read and ponder is the way
that I have chosen to try to pay
the toll for this tremendous gift
of life where I have learned too well
the lessons of the school bell.
I’ve learned to turn a deaf ear to
what pedants say I need to do
and take each day a road that’s new.

I’m led by dreams and intuition
down streets with no thought of fruition
but instead careen and ramble
without an outline or preamble
into places I’d never go
if I just reported what I know.
Then I record all that I see
so you can learn along with me.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/street/

Mutability

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Mutability

Farthingale and flour glue,
catamaran and kangaroo,
lamplit lizard, croquet pie,
tyrant’s glare and jam on rye––
there is nothing I can do
when words come marching two-by-two
but grab a pen to herd them in,
then quiet down their awful din
by separating them with commas.
Sitting here in my pajamas,
I refuse to start my day
in any other sort of way
than stacking words into neat piles,
sorting them by usage styles.

Verbs in rows where they might jostle
nouns like cupcake and apostle.
Adjectives like proud and pretty
aggravating, stuffy, petty––
have to line up in a row
and go where I tell them to go!
Sometimes I feel it is absurd,
how I imprison every word,
take it from its family
to serve me here on bended knee.
Do my bidding, tell my tale,
imprisoned here in each poem’s jail
’til other writers come along
to use that word in book or song.

Then once more the word’s set free
to go where it wants to be.
We pass each word—a bouncing ball––
to be exchanged between us all.
The words that Ogden Nash has used?
The very ones that I’ve abused.
Walt Whitman owned not one word more
than the pile in my store
of wordy possibilities,
to use however I may please.
I gather words from here and there––
words stark and silly, profound, bare.
The order that I put them in,
how often they appear and when
is the power I execute––
the sword I wield, the horn I toot.

I crack the whip and words line up.
“Naughty” shoulders “new” and “pup.”
“Sand” drifts over “bird” and “sea”
as words flow in to be with me.
New words invade my memory,
augmenting “seen” with what I see,
so old stories change a bit
accordingly, as I see fit.
History is made and changed,
altered, prettified, deranged
by new words slipping in to alter
facts where memory might falter.
The gore of war is changed to glory
as time steps in to tell the story.

The power of words might then be seen
to coat facts with nostalgia’s sheen.
A simple word like “maybe” might
distill the impact and the plight
of those whose suffering and pain
should be remembered as a stain
on the world’s humanity.
“May have been” should never be
confused with “was” in history.
Those of us who bandy letters,
using words to joust with betters
sometimes with hilarity,
need also heed their verity.
For words I fear are spoken in vain
if truth is altered to entertain.

The Prompt: Not Lemonade. When life gives you lemons… make something else. Tell us about a time you used an object or resolved a tricky situation in an unorthodox way.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/not-lemonade/

If A Poem Could Speak for Itself: NaPoWriMo Day 15 and “Mentor Me” WordPress Prompt

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“Ganesha” by Judy Dykstra-Brown, 11″ X 5″ Ganesha is the Hindu god who watches over writers and intellectuals and makes things go smoothly in life–something we could all use a bit of. The open books all contain real stories and poems or mathematical formulas.

The WordPress and NaPoWriMo prompts worked well together today. The Prompt from one was to write a poem that addresses itself or some aspect of its self, and the other prompt was to write on the subject of mentoring, so this poem fulfills both prompts.

If a Poem Could Speak for Itself

In me, your thoughts are broken into lines—
the cadences as vital as breathing.
At my best, June never rhymes with moon
and if there are flowers, they are never roses.
Peonies, perhaps or ranunculi.
No daisies, ever, and no bluebirds or honey wine.

Being in love is as common as work boots
or stilettos with one heel broken off.
Hearts in good poetry do not ache, pine, yearn or pound.
They are not worn on the sleeve but remain
inside. Alone. Running the same maze
hearts everywhere run every day.

What makes a good poem?
Avoiding tired words and familiar phrases.
Rhyme, if you use it,
must be impeccable.
Words should follow their natural order
and not be inverted just to force a rhyme.
And remember that just because it rhymes
doesn’t mean it is poetry.
Never take the easy way out.
Never settle.

Use one-tenth of the words
that it is your impulse to use.
No pretty language, flashy language, trite language
or language plagiarized from Valentines
or song lyrics  or others of my ilk.

And most of all, remember that
the thing you are really talking about
is rarely mentioned.
Do not over-explain.
Let me have my mysteries,
and have faith in your reader
to try to solve them.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/mentor-me/