I used to write a haiku or poem every week without hesitation or fear of making something cringey.
And then I started finding it difficult to feel motivated or inspired to create new art or even a haiku each week because life had turned into pure chaos. But lately, all I want to do is give voice to the pain, self-discovery, and intense joy I’ve been experiencing. So, it felt like it was time to give poetry a try again. But this time around, I wanted to come into crafting words with a few more tools in my poetry toolbox.
Since January 1st, 2022, I have been attempting to write 1 poem every day. And I won’t lie- most of it is TERRIBLE lol. But that’s what editing is for.
I eventually hope to start sharing poems again on a weekly basis, but before I get those self-imposed deadlines going, I wanted to share the resources I’ve been using to educate myself and get re-started with writing poetry.
I actually picked this book up, oh probably a few Christmases ago, from Five Below and I finally started using it. You/Poet is a workbook for writing poetry written by Rayna Hutchison and Samuel Blake. They go through the history of poetry, why someone might want to write poetry, prompts, and examples for different formats. I’ve found it really helpful for getting back into the swing of things. Altogether, it’s been a fantastic resource and a great starting point.
Here’s the book on Amazon: https://amzn.to/33jxCUs
Another resource I’ve been utilizing is my Skillshare subscription. I love replacing my YouTube scrolling with Skillshare classes and lately, I’ve been watching my lessons while washing dishes. Multi-tasking for the win!
The class I’ve been working my way through most recently is the “30 Day Poetry Challenge,” by Zachary Phillips. His class is super approachable and is more focused on creating a daily writing habit than it is on the formal structure of poetry. I enjoy that each lesson is paired with a poem of his own as a starting off point for the assignments.
You can check out his class, 30 Day Poetry Challenge with Zachary Phillips here: https://skl.sh/3Kf9AdT
Thrifted Books of Poetry
I frequent a lot of 2nd hand bookstores and thrift shops and everywhere I go, I seem to be picking up books of poetry these days. One book I’ve been enjoying is a collection of poems published in 1877 written by Oliver Wendell Holmes. For some bizarre reason, I’ve taken to serenading my girlfriend with random selections from the collection whenever we’re hanging out in the kitchen cooking together. There’s just something so entertaining about Mr. Homes’s tongue-in-cheek humor that makes it a joy to read aloud.
You can read his collection for free on Kindle: https://amzn.to/3tAzHWr
A much heavier (not by weight but by content) book of poetry I picked up from a 2nd hand shop in P-Town is, “milk and honey,” by Rupi Kaur. Now, this book deals with themes of sexual assault, abuse, and recovering from those relationships through poetry. It was recommended to me by my sister a long time ago, but it took me a while to feel like I was ready for such an intense read. And I’m glad I waited. It really is a powerful read. A powerful and intense read. But honestly, one that really spoke to the hurt parts of my soul that feel the need to be expressed right now.
I’ve taken to using my copy as a notebook for my own poetry. Each poem or sketch I add uses one of Kaur’s poems as a starting point. I tape in a page or write directly under one of her poems and let the emotions flow. It’s been both traumatic and therapeutic working on poems in this way. Would I recommend it? Ehhh….? I’ll let you know if it turns into something later. But what I can say is that it is an interesting way to approach getting back into writing poetry. And I think the main way is that it turns the poems in the collection into the beginnings of conversations that you then get to continue. And from a ‘healing from abuse,’ perspective, it helps to be sharing that journey with someone who also used their words to heal.
You can purchase, “milk and honey,” by Rupi Kaur here: https://amzn.to/3nzJmJc
I’m looking forward to getting these little bits and pieces edited and out there to share with you!
If you’re also on a poetry journey, what resources have you found to help you get started?