Saturday, February 15, 2014

advice to a beginning poet.

My father's literature student at university wrote a few poems and wanted advice.  I didn't write a lot (there are so many resources out there to try) and nothing on the poems themselves.  But I wanted to share here--this is what I told her.  

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My suggestions:

- Read.  Read.  Fall in love with poets.  Try to answer why that poet appeals to you so much.  Keep on eye on the acknowledgements page:  read the journals mentioned.  Read everything by that poet.  Then read everything that inspired that poet.

- Daily writing practice.  Exercise.  Try The Daily Poet and A Writer's Book of Days.

- Find a poetry partner.  Exchange poems.  This keeps you accountable to something outside of yourself.

- Hazel & Wren is a fun online resource for developing poets.

- Check out the treasure trove that is The Poetry Foundation

- A few books to check out:  The Discovery of Poetry by Frances Mayes, which is an excellent guide.  Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird is a get-out-of-bed writing book.  Natalie Goldberg has a handful of books on writing that are lovely.  See also:  Letters to a Young Poet, The Triggering Town.

Of all the suggestions I think that matter most above, the one that tells you to read is the one I'd do the most.  It's a gift.  Make a poetry anthology of your own by photocopying and printing out out favorites.  (I love mine.)

Keep writing.  If it brings you joy, don't stop.

molly sutton kiefer

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