The Physical Activity of Writing. Step Two.

Last week I suggested would-be writers begin a journal.

Today I suggest poetry.

Read poetry. Write poetry.

Poetry is imagery, pure and simple. Sometimes it’s nothing more than words. Really. Doesn’t have to mean all that much.

A poem can be as simple as a few words or a couple of sentences. It does not have to rhyme!

Read simple poetry – Robert Frost. Carl Sandburg. Walt Whitman. Move on to Pablo Neruda (love poems). Langston Hughes. Sample ancient Chinese and Japanese forms of poetry– translated, of course. Japanese poems are especially big on simple imagery and symbolism. Move on to Beowulf and Gilgamesh!

Writing poetry is like automatic drawing. It’s an exercise designed to open the mind.

Automatic drawing can be done one of several ways. My preferred method is to look at something, anything, except the hand, my hand that holds the pencil. I place the tip of the pencil onto a large flat sheet of paper and without looking down I draw the forms I see before me. Some artists prefer to watch their hand, yet they do not consciously control the movement. I find that to be difficult. My brain wants to wrest control from my hand. Therefore I do not watch my hand. I prefer to let the images flow.

This is the same way poetry taps into the subconscious. Allow words to flow without interruption. As I said, a poem can be a single word. It can be 10,000. Although that would be kinda boring to read.

Step one: Start a journal.

Step two: Write a poem.

Feeling the heartbeat of pure imagery will help you create vivid scenes later. Trust me. It will work.

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juliabarrett

I am an author of fiction and nonfiction.