POETRY WRITING TIPS – Vol 12
Poetry writing tips by JIDE BADMUS.
Capturing poetry under three headings:
Let’s go there!
Get a bottle of Red wine, a can of Pringles and lock yourself in a bed room! Just joking. I write anywhere & everywhere (even during boring sermons. Lol.
There are some basic things that make your poetry tick. Your diction, the imagery employed and the message.
The themes I write on are as random as they are precise and deliberate. An inscription on a T-shirt, a discussion in the bus, a beautiful sunset or an emotional experience; all these can spur me to write a poem.
I present my message in a sequential manner that ensures a smooth flow. Ideas are introduced in bits and orderly so the reader is drawn in gently. Haphazard thoughts leave the readers confused.
My language is simple and basic; modern and formal. I work on making my poems accessible to everyone. When a poem is easy on the eyes, the reader is sucked into its contents and emotions. The reader is able to appreciate the art, enjoy the piece and probably come for a refill.
Every time I write, I ask myself: are you communicating? That’s the simple test. Communicate, define your audience and understand their needs.
This is key in delivering a beautiful work of lyrical art. I use universal images to inspire imagination in my readers. Something relatable and easy to visualize.
I don’t usually use local culture-inspired imagery.
I don’t use brand names and I rarely refer to people or events from other books. These in my opinion distort and break the flow of the reader who is not familiar with the visuals you tried to invoke.
I mostly employ the use of metaphors, similes and personification. I love ironies and alliteration too.
Basically, I write my poems to be able to pass three tests: appeal to the eyes, grip the mind and make you ask for more. This means my poems are usually short, beautiful &deep.
Let’s take a simple example:
I want to write a poem about the afternoon weather in a home in Lagos.
I share a room
With the sun.
It is noon &
My bed is a pool
The language here is what a primary school kid can relate to, he would be able to read at least.
L1: is a pointer to the setting of the poem (Sharing rooms is common in Lagos)
It breaks at that point to pique the interest of the reader, “with who?”
L2: tries to describe how hot the room is.
Everyone can relate to the sun, pool, room but the beauty lies in how you can mould expressions out of simple thoughts. The poet persona up there is basically saying that he is feeling hot and sweating.
Can we build a poem together?
Someone should add a second verse: the poet persona wants a cold shower/bath to refresh but the tap is not running.
And a third verse:
He would have gone to fetch at the well in front of the house or even go to sit and take fresh air but he is avoiding the Landlady as his rent has expired.
Have a great week. Thanks.
Now, Try the poetry exercise at the comment box. Add your own lines and let’s keep the fun going.