Writing Poetry by Diana Raab, Ph.D
Poetry is the voice of the soul. Poets help us see a slice of the world in a way in which we might not have observed it before. They highlight details to cast a light on a feeling, an image, or an event. Poetry also helps offer insight into both the human psyche and human behavior, and it is a place where the imagination can roam free.
Letting go and writing poetry is about just allowing life and experiences to unfold as they are meant to unfold. When writing poetry, try to release or let go of your rational mind and let your sensations and emotions take over. Letting go is also about slowing down and pausing while being mindful of what is stirring inside you.
As you string words together, feel the poem erupt from deep inside you. Begin by writing about something about which you feel strongly. Writing in this way will help reveal you to yourself, and will be transformative. Over time, you’ll learn what inspires you to write poetry.
Life provides all of us much material to write about. In addition to our memories, reflections, and fantasies, this wealth of material can also include the books or articles you read and the movies you’ve watched. Poet Robert Frost deftly says, “A poem begins with a lump in the throat: a homesickness or a love sickness. It is a reaching out toward expression: an effort to find fulfillment.”
Poems come to me when I least expect it, but most often when I am in the midst of doing something else. Sometimes an image or a title drifts into my mind, and that’s where I begin. Reading the works of other poets is a wonderful way to invite in the muse because it fills you with random thoughts and invites rhythm into your own poetry. My book, Lust, for example, is on Audible and read by actress Kate Udall, and she does a terrific job of bringing the poems alive.
Pick up a poetry anthology and find a poet whose voice and sensibility resonates with you. Read a poem by that poet a few times, first to yourself and then out loud. Feel the poem’s rhythm; see its images and ideas. Choose your favorite line from the poem, and let it be the first line of your own poem. Write it at the top of your journal page. Now continue writing lines in connection with it. Read what you write and reflect on new feelings.
Diana Raab, Ph.D. is an award-winning memoirist, poet, blogger, and speaker who advocates the healing and transformative powers of writing. She’s the author of eight books, and her essays and poetry have been widely published. She’s a regular blogger for Psychology Today, Elephant Journal and Thrive Global. Her latest book is Writing for Bliss: Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life. Website, www.dianaraab.com; https://www.facebook.com/DianaRaab.Author/