Wanting to get into reading/writing poetry but no idea where to start Watch

username2400835
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Recently I've been wanting to get into reading more poetry and maybe even start writing but I have such a limited vocabulary compared to some of the people I know that I don't know how to write well.

Does anyone have any good reads and tips on how to write?
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Cognition!
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Is English your first language?

A thesaurus is the poet's best friend. Rhyming dictionaries are lifesavers.
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username2400835
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(Original post by Cognition!)
Is English your first language?

A thesaurus is the poet's best friend. Rhyming dictionaries are lifesavers.
yeah, it's just often I can't find the right words. And I'm not huge on it having to rhyme, I guess just creative pieces and writing in general
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QuantumSnowy
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Depends what you're looking for from your poems, I suppose. My personal favourite poets are phillip larkin, keats, hardy and frost, but without sounding like a snob, they might be difficult to get into if you don't really know what to look for or don't have much experience, not that I profess to having a great amount of experience.

If were to take Robert Frost for example, many people would be aware of his poem, 'The Road Not Taken', and many people would cite it as an example of great wisdom, a beautiful poem which has taught them volumes about life, when in fact their reading might be only so deep I'll paste the last stanza below:


I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The last two lines tend to be the culprit. When Frost talks about him taking the road less traveled, people interpret that as him being all hipster, that is going against the mainstream and by taking a different route to the rest of the world, he has forged his own happiness. Upon analysis of the poem and some context another quite contrasting meaning springs up. The lore goes that Frost and a friend of his were on a walk in the woods, when they came across a fork, the friend then proceeded to spend ages deliberating over which road to take, with Frost getting more and more annoyed as time passed. It then so happened that the two roads ended up joining together again quite quickly, rendering the whole process redundant. The last two lines are to me more of a sarcastic remark to end upon, with Frost musing about how our choices don't really matter at all.

Sorry for the deluge, but you get my drift right? Poetry is a slippery beast, and it might be useful to do some background reading, perhaps reading analyses of some poems might be a good start? Context is always helpful too. I'm not saying that you shouldn't have your own interpretation of poems, far from it in fact, without getting into literary theory too much (or I could go on and on forever) it is my personal belief that any interpretation of a work is in fact a fair interpretation, but with a bit more knowledge you could glean so much more meaning from them than you could before. Poets like frost built their poems around ambiguities and picking away at these can be a very rewarding task.

In terms of getting started with reading perhaps just buy a collection and throw yourself in? Read until you find poems that resonate with you. Many collections have notes and introductions accompanying the actual poems, and I'd highly recommend reading these too.

In terms of writing, advice might not be best coming from me, I write, not anything good though, but I'll give you my two cents. I wouldn't worry about vocabulary, just start writing. People often expect poems to come out in bursts, but novels to take time and crafting. IMO poetry is a craft, you can spend time on poems, don't feel they have to be immediate. Take an idea, anything at all and think about how you would like to express it. It could be an emotion an ideal, political, personal, whatever. If you're struggling with putting ideas to paper, trying putting restrictions onto yourself. Do some research into types of poems, say a Shakespearean Sonnet. These poems have very strict structures and guidelines for words and rhymes and if you want to get into it, meter. Perhaps treat it as some sort of challenge, you have an idea and a template, then try filling in the words. As you get more confident you can try loosening restrictions or messing with the boundaries, until you come up with something structured completely by yourself. Definitely don't worry about vocabulary, reading will naturally improve it, but don't try to put fancy words in that mean nothing, poetry is about YOU, its you who is writing, and expressing an idea in YOUR head. Write for yourself, express yourself is what poetry is, you're hardly doing that if you're trying to put in fancy words for the sake of it.

argh crap, sorry for the ultra long post, as you can probs tell, I'm pretty passionate about this...
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Kanairee
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I would absolutely suggest William Ernest Henley or A.E Housman, they wrote some of my all time favourites like Invictus and Who is that young sinner? Also definetley check out Blake's Tiger Tiger, its simple and the rhyming scheme flows in a really memorable way. You could take tips from poems like this for sure for writing purposes.
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loool
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Kid_Chameleon
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(Original post by QuantumSnowy)
When Frost talks about him taking the road less traveled, people interpret that as him being all hipster, that is going against the mainstream and by taking a different route to the rest of the world, he has forged his own happiness. Upon analysis of the poem and some context another quite contrasting meaning springs up.
I found a similar thing with Mending Wall and "good fences make good neighbours". On an initial reading, the general response is "Amen to that!" but a deeper reading reveals that the poem is about blind prejudice and how it blocks people from relating to each other.
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Kid_Chameleon
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If you're planning to write poetry, it would be a good idea to read plenty of contemporary poetry as the classics are more difficult to understand and your own poetry would seem very dated and out of touch with current trends. Poetry from today's world in today's cultures would allow you to cover a lot more ground a lot more quickly.

I would also recommend Stephen Fry's book The Ode Less Travelled which teaches people how to write poetry from understanding metre to rhyme schemes to all the various forms that have been developed over the past two millennia.
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Kallisto
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(Original post by ILikePasta)
Recently I've been wanting to get into reading more poetry and maybe even start writing but I have such a limited vocabulary compared to some of the people I know that I don't know how to write well.

Does anyone have any good reads and tips on how to write?
I advice you to read many different poems about many different literary periods to increase your vocabulary first. Get inspired by the topics, look for inspiration in story-tellings, also in fairy-tales. Think about stories and events in your everyday live. Think about what you want to write, no matter whether fictional or non-fictional, fabulous creatures or real characters (for my part it can be mixed too). An idea, a mere imagination about the story and the characters is sufficient to begin with. Just write and set your ideas free. After finishing writing, offers your friends or family members (or persons you appreciate and you trust in) to listen to your writing and read your poems out. After that ask these people what can be improved in your writing and what they liked.

If you follows these steps continually, you get better in poetry writing. I do this for some years.
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QuantumSnowy
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(Original post by Kid_Chameleon)
I found a similar thing with Mending Wall and "good fences make good neighbours". On an initial reading, the general response is "Amen to that!" but a deeper reading reveals that the poem is about blind prejudice and how it blocks people from relating to each other.
Frost loves to do that sort of thing, I quite like this quote of his

“There are many other things I have found myself saying about poetry, but the chiefest of these is that it is metaphor, saying one thing and meaning another, saying one thing in terms of another, the pleasure of ulteriority.”


One of my favourites is After-Apple Picking, he just uses a simple, easy to imagine metaphor as a vehicle, from which it is possible to glean so many different interpretations, each of which can mean something to someone else.

yeh I like frost
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Moonstruck16
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Smoke weed and get a nose ring.
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twingtongtwanger
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You don't need a big vocabulary to write well. There's a short story writer called Raymond Carver who made a point of only writing in plain language and he was brilliant. If you're thinking about getting into poetry, though, spoken word (type of performance poetry) doesn't tend to be too cluttered with its words, so I'd suggest look up the button poetry channel on youtube.
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frankCA
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Just start writing whatever comes to your mind

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