If you’re a writer looking for poetry tips, welcome to this Little River Poetry Fest blog post! Use the following to help begin your adventure into poetry:
One of the best ways to get started as an absolute beginner is to immerse yourself in the genre. If you think you’d like the classics, try works by Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, or John Keats. If something a little more recent sounds interesting, try masterworks from Rupi Kaur, Maya Angelou, or Pablo Neruda. Sometimes just reading a wide swath of celebrated works can light the fire in your heart you need to write your own pieces.
If you read the pieces above, you probably noticed that many seem completely different from each other! There’s a lot of different types of poetry, and while many seasoned poets will tell you the rules of poetry are more like guidelines, it’s still a good idea to test out the bounds of the poetry you want to write. Check out this post from the Academy of American Poets with articles on 19 different forms of poetry!
While it can be a good idea to work within the bounds of poetry’s many forms, there’s no reason you need to feel constrained when it comes to your subject. Poetry doesn’t have to be about nature, feelings, or epic loves. Anything you can imagine that can be captured in writing can be poetry. For examples of poetry with unconventional subjects, read a few pieces by Shel Silverstein or Chaucer.
When all is said and done, even those celebrated poets with a knack for turning out beloved verses did not become legends overnight. The artistic process is full of scrapes and spills, and is more like a lifetime well lived than a single journey with an ultimate destination. Give yourself time and space to experiment with new forms, write what moves you, and explore this whole new branch of creativity without spending too much time worry about the “right” way to write. Every step forward, no matter how shaky or small, is still progress.
By Star LaBranche
When I arrived at the Little River Poetry Festival in 2017, I was so mentally blocked, I thought I would never write again. I had just finished my chapbook, Wake Me When It’s Over, which I read at the festival. I thought, this is it. I’ve written everything I can possibly ever write. I was ready to pack up my pens and my Scrivener files and call it a day.
But poetry inspiration doesn’t work like that. If there’s one thing that inspires me a great deal it’s other poets. I love to read poetry in my spare time and see how others have manipulated words and phrases. See how they put together their stanzas and format their couplets. As the festival moved into James’ workshop called, The Sudden Left Turn, I realized I had thrown myself a sudden left turn. I had written a chapbook about my life and where I was emotionally and mentally, but I left out any hint of where I was with romantic relationships. Something I have always struggled with.
Immediately, I started writing. When we got to the Floyd Friend’s Meetinghouse I wrote about 8 poems in one sitting. These 8 poems formed the basis of what became my next chapbook, Racing Toward Red Lights. I digitally published the chapbook later that year.
It just goes to show that you never know when poetry inspiration will strike you. But one thing is for sure; being around creative people can definitely help kickstart your ideas and help you to get them down on paper. I’m looking forward to the Little River Poetry Festival in 2018 for a lot of reasons. But one of them is definitely that I would love to write another chapbook like I did there. When you have a great idea and the writing flows from you, it’s an incredibly powerful experience. Almost like the poems write themselves.
Poetry was all around at the festival and it inspired poetry in turn. Here are some of their writings, inspired by the festival surroundings and the workshops they went to.
The muse walks the meadow
bare feet scraping through the dew
sky blue as a loved one’s eyes
in the wren’s song
the voice lost
into the light.
Sun sparkles on river’s rushing beck
swallows circle the dark cliffs
and a cardinal sings.
Suddenly the day
falls into a present
of a sky blue as wonder.
The river rushes away
as Jack wades back to us.
I left my blood on Buffalo Mountain –
washed the wound in the spring
as swallows chased yellow butterflies
across the road.
It’s all good.
Wandering down the dim aisles
of the antique store,
I find a collection of cobalt stemware
he would have loved,
and a book of photos –
Margaret would have opened
the minute it was put in her hands.
I leave the items on their shelves –
their new houses need no possessions.
Summer is here,
the grass is green,
(and this field is equipped
with a high-tech latrine!)
Birding with Sarah
Bidental voiceless fricative
labiodental voiced fricative
bilabial voiceless stop
Thank you, Sarah!
(from the Rondelet Workshop)
That’s who you are!
A relaxing wave from the heart.
That’s who you are!
An endless poem written down,
a world that needs to speak it.
A full universe opens up.
That’s who you are.
We come together
in the blue-striped tent where
kindness, poetry rule.
Float down the river,
mind your p’s and q’s, but write
a good kayak poem.
There is magic here!
See how love and poetry
knits us together.
The skunk on Route Eight
for the stink rebate!
cook the books,
armed to the teeth
with anger issues.
My wife and I
are on either ends
of the house,
When tent is empty,
field is dark.
Jack takes over the electric thoughts
who, he himself, has had a few –
like remembrances of black vulture wings
(knowing they are a couple,
though might not kiss as much as we),
and though the peepers have given
false signals in the constricted Spring,
it bodes well for a romantic walk.
in the cacophony of slimy things,
ourselves not included,
but hey, it’s only just begun,
and since the woods will always remember us,
we will return, united, excited, and all the rest…