Tips and Links

Here is a round up of the tips and links so far.

Tip One:  

Figure out what kind of poetry you want to write or if you want to explore more than one type.
I found this fascinating site Shadow Poetry that has quite an expansive list of types of poetry and examples. Unfortunately this site will be closing on September 31, 2012 so I recommend you check it out before then. Yay! They aren't closing the site down. They are leaving it up for the resources.

Tip Two: 

Decide where you will display your poetry.

If you don't have a blog and decide you would like to create one for your poetry, I suggest taking a look at some of the other writers, poets, and authors to get some ideas. My main suggestion would be to use your name for your blog. That way no matter what you are writing/blogging about it is all you and you don't have to worry about getting a different domain name.

An interesting place to find other poets that are blogging - Poets Who Blog

Tip Three: 

Begin writing down themes of possibilities for your poems, you don't have to stick with one but having an idea of various themes is helpful.

Here is a site of Autumn Poems which is another angle to look at. 

Tip Four: 

Begin observing your days through the lense of your senses. Use what you observe in random lines of poetry as a way to begin building some of your OctPoWriMo poems.

Bonus Idea: Start carrying a notebook to jot phrases to share “What I see, hear, touch, taste, smell.” Sometimes I use my smart phone in the same way. This will begin to help you fill your palette with images as material to write from once October arrives. 

To specifically see how some sensory poems are constructed and get further how-to's for your future poems, I have added a link from that is very helpful and a sort of sensory fill in the blank from a college website. 

Tip Five:  

Think about where you would like to write and what helps your imagination the most. Take care of your environment and create a cozy, inviting, and inspiring area for you to write your poetry in if that would help your words flow onto the page.

How you feel about where you are writing can make all the difference in the world.

TIP Six: 

When you start writing stream of consciousness style (just write what comes into your head without editing) you might feel awkward. Cool, write “I feel awkward. I feel more awkward than my first school dance in the seventh grade when I realized I had the same dress on as Laura Taylor only she looked much better in it than I did.”

Do you see the potential in that winded sentence to be made into the start of a poem?

Pluck nuggets from it. “first school dance” – “seventh grade” “same dress as Laura Taylor” “Once again, someone looked (sounded, was smarter, danced) than me.

It’s emotional, even years later when we give into it. Emotion is the stuff poetry is often made of the most.

Don’t believe me?

Set a timer for five minutes and write anything on, “I don’t believe Julie because….”And see what you come up with. My best guess is some great lines to weave into a poem once OctPoWriMo begins. Its getting closer and closer!

Here is what some other people say about writing stream of consciousness style. First a Wiki Page with a step-by-step how to approach to stream of consciousness.

And some examples of stream of consciousness style from literature are found here, including from the novel I am currently reading, Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf!

TIP Seven: 

Here is one surefire way to get you going: instead of worrying about LONG poetry (though you may go there) instead consider writing 31 micropoems. Micropoetry is very, very short poetry. I’m including an article below about micropoetry so you may get more specifics but just know it is poetry that is about haiku length (seventeen syllables) or shorter than a tweet length (shorter than 140 characters.)

I just hopped over to twitter and wrote a very short poem. I feel lighter now. Isn't it remarkable how just a few moments focused on writing lightens us?

Your two helpful and promised resource links:

Tip Eight: 

Discover new tools for creating your poetry whether the Magnetic Poetry or something else equally fun. 

If you are on a budget like many of us are, you could write each word on a piece of paper or on 3x5 cards. That way you can place them on a table or even the floor to rearrange endlessly. After all word games aren't just for children, it is for the creative child in all of us. 

Tip Nine: 

Be more alert to life as you pass through it.

See what I mean? It is so simple!

So simple it deserves an example from my daily drive. First, I drive from my home to a part of town about 7 miles away several times a day. If you’ve known me for long, you know I don’t particularly care for the whole “Momschlep” routine. In fact, I don’t care for it at all so I’ve created ways to make it more interesting and make my creative side feel productive.

So one of the ways to combat that is to drive to the same place using different routes with an intention of ALERTNESS TO THE VIEW as I drive and in doing so, I consistently catch new sights, sounds, scents and new images to put into my poems and other creative projects.

TIP Ten: 

Read poetry by other poets. Better yet, Read poetry a loud. Best of the bunch, Read other poets than the ones you are accustomed to reading  aloud daily. The finest of all - Read poetry by other poets aloud each day from now through OctPoWriMo.

I started doing this when I was practicing an English accent for theater work.  I would read Elizabeth Barrett Browning aloud, it just felt so wonderful to pronounce the words as she may have when she was writing.

Tip Eleven: 

Change Perspective in Your Poem to Spark New Ideas Some poets write only in the first person because "this is how I always write." The same is true of poets who write in third person or write as an omniscient voice, seeing and knowing all and then narrating for the reader. OctPoWriMo provides an opportunity for us to grow as poets. 

Another way to switch it up is to change past tense to present tense and vice versa. 

Tip Twelve: 

Take time to watch this fascinating documentary that is like no other and then make notes of what comes up for you; what begs to come through you in your own poetry.

Grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine, sit back and see what world this video opens for you. 

Have you signed up to participate in this Poetry Challenge? The time is drawing near, sign upand join us in this wonderful adventure into words.

Read other poetry with Passion in Poems  

Tip Thirteen: 

Pull out a poem that you have written and experiment reading it out loud. Vary the tone, the emphasis. Does it reach deep places within you? Pour your passion into your poetry and dare to write your truth onto the page. 

A place to discover poems of Love, Life, Truth, Passion
Discover how to read your poetry out loud. Poetry 180.

Tip Fourteen: 

If you think you’ve got absolutely nothing to say, pick up today’s newspaper (or the copy on the ketchup bottle or a page of your text book) and shuffle the words any which way. Speak them aloud and reconfigure them. Just like that, you’ve got… a new poem. If you think you MAY have something to say, pick a line or two of any poem at all, perhaps with a word or phrase you like. Go for a walk while reciting the words. Either return home or sit on a bench at wherever your destination was and write. Just like that, you’ve got… a new poem.

I like to use found poetry techniques and I find, over and over again, I am at least entertained and happy at my molding and shaping of words, even if it isn’t a poem I ever go back to for revision or publication, it has gotten me through a patch when I thought I couldn’t write at all.

Found poetry reminds me “Si, se puede.” Yes, I can. And you can, too. 

And then there are poems where you may use none of your own words. This is called the Cento Poem and here are some how-to's and examples, again from

Tip Fifteen: 

Write about the most mundane “thing” you can.
In my writing classes, we do this exercise early.

First, set a timer for two minutes.

Second, choose something random that is right around your desk.

Look at it as if you have never seen it before. Pick it up, look at it from all sides, feel it with your cheek or the inside of your arm instead of just your hands. Smell it, close your eyes and feel it without seeing it.

Begin the timer and begin to describe your object.
Do it now! I'll give you space to write. It will only take two minutes! Write continually until the timer goes off. If you have "nothing left to say, look at your object again. Its shape, its size, its color, its texture, what function it is made to serve. Be creative.

One time I had a student say, “I never noticed so many things about my trash can before!” or another favorite is an ordinary bottle of water.

When you observe closely as if what you are seeing is the first time you are seeing it, your poetry will come alive. Keep these “warm-ups” as ideas and lines for your next poem. Sometimes the most effective poem may be about something completely ordinary.

One of my favorite poetry sets is about…. Coffee. Which I drink as I write, every time.

Tip Sixteen: 

Make your poetic musical accompaniment be of the non-lyric variety. No, I am not suggesting muzak, I am suggesting classical music from composers such as Mozart, Chopin,  Brahms, Haydn and many others as well as Celtic Music, Jazz instrumentals, Nature Sounds, music by Igor Stravinsky (if you haven’t heard of him, start listening now… he is so inspiring) etc etc etc.

If you MUST listen to music with lyrics, choose lyrics outside your language. One of my favorite places to find any writing musical accompaniment isRadioSwissClassic. If they have vocals, it is in Italian or German or French. The DJ’s speak… yes, in Italian or German or French.

Remember the Mozart Effect? Well, later researchers have found evidence it isn’t very effective in the long run, but the arousal experienced while listening to a Mozart Sonata increases while listening and up until 15 minutes afterwards.

How can it hurt your poetry to try it?

If you end up trying it (and do so for a significant amount of time) and hate it, then switch it up and listen to music thematically.

Writing love poetry, listen to love songs.

Writing confessional poetry, listen to ballads.

You get the idea.  Now pop on over to these resources to listen to some exceptional music. Then try writing to it. If these classical types aren't for you, Google "Jazz Instrumentals" or "Celtic Instrumentals." You may even surprise yourself with what you come up with while listening to violins and drums. Sometimes it is World Music that does it for me. Experiment, play, write better poetry than you knew you could!

Radio Swiss Classic: Note at the top of the page you may choose what language you want to hear announcements so you can be sure you get a language that isn't your own.

Video of Song (and incredible ballet) of Igor Stravinsky's Rites of Spring.  

Minimize the You Tube videoand listen…. Or watch the images for inspiration and then write and then listen again, without watching video and write…

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