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Advice to Young Poets.-Alan j Wright

Here are some tips for young poets to follow. They have helped me with writing poetry over many years. I hope they assist you in discovering your poet’s heart.
Write as often as you can. That's what writers do — they write. They think about their words, rehearsing in their heads- and then they write. Sometimes though they get a spark of an idea and just have to write it down, rather than risk losing it.

Carry a writer’s notebook with you and collect your ideas wherever you may be. My notebook is my travelling companion and a place to collect ideas and memories.

American poet, Ted Kooser advises potential poets to, ‘Read at least 100 poems before you write one.’ My advice is similar to Ted. You certainly need to read lots of poetry to get a feel for the shape and sounds of this wonderful form of writing.

Try to write in your notebook every day, -even if it’s just a few words or lines.

When you begin to write start with the things closest to you — yourself, or your family, friends, and pets. Things that surround you.  Old photographs work for me too. Never forget, ideas exist in things. These are the things you know best.  They are closest to your heart. It's so much easier than writing about things you know little or nothing about.

When writing poems, don't worry about trying to make them rhyme. Rhyme is challenging when you are starting out. It's important to say what you really want to say than using rhyming words that don’t really fit with what you’re trying to say to your readers.

Don't expect to get things right the first time. Your first words might sound a bit clunky.  Experiment, and play with the order of things by moving lines and words about. If a word is not doing its important work, Get rid of it. Be ruthless.

Read your poems aloud so you hear them as a reader would. The words needs to roll out smoothly. If they sound a little clunky. Be prepared to revise them. When your words are ready, you will hear them click into place, -a bit like Lego pieces.

Celebrate words. They are a poet’s life source. Collect great sounding words. Experiment with words. Feel free to invent words. Surround yourself with language. Eat poetry until the ink appears at the corners of your mouth.

When you find a topic or idea you wish to write about, try writing two or three different poems about it using different points of view.

Write about feelings. Write about how you feel in different situations and at different times.  Get to know your emotional self. Notice your own normal, but also notice your weirder self.

Take a walk around your neighborhood. Take photographs, draw [pictures— and write about the things you see there.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try the words may refuse to fall in the right places. When this happens, put a little distance between you and your writing. Just for a while do something else. Then try writing again later. The problem often resolves itself while you are away.

All writing requires ‘stickability.’ It is therefore important to keep practicing. Give yourself positive

Best Wishes
Alan j Wright


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