How does one start in poetry? How can someone go from novel writing to poetic prose? Both valid questions and both questions you may ask. I can only share from my personal experience, but as an actively working fiction novelist and poet, I shared a few tips that may help you along your journey.
- Read as much poetry as possible. Read a vast variety of different poetry from different poets throughout history and even current. This, for me, was a gateway to expanding my horizons. Every new poem or poet I came across I could see or try to see where that poet’s message lied. Whether it was about a falling leave in Autumn or the great despair of losing a child.
- Learn more about poetry itself beyond the reading of the different prose you come across. The research into the poetic world will introduce you to more than you may know. For example, you will learn about free-styling poetry compared to a structured haiku set-up. These are important upon you developing a style for yourself. You may even discover you want to try your hand at all the different poetry forms!
- Keep a journal nearby. I already practice this as a novel idea that may come and go. I will need to write it down before I lose my thought. Poetry ideas and lines can come just as quickly as they fade away. You may think of a beautiful way of saying something you’ve struggled with for some time, a journal can net that fish before it escapes.
- Play with your words. Experiment with assonance and initial rhyme. These can help develop a flow in the work and a style. Along with this experiment, with metaphors.
- Don’t be afraid to restart a poem. Editing your work is a good way to polish it. For me, this was natural as I would write a chapter draft or even a manuscript draft and re-approach it with fresh eyes during the phase of writing of self-editing. A poem doesn’t have to be perfect and if you think it is the first time you’ve written it, approach it again later on to test your original feelings of the work. This is also a good way to develop your writing and poetry, never publish the first draft of anything you ever write. Publishers will know and so will readers, it will feel ‘off’.