Writing Poems

13 Apr

8:07 — Atlanta

Good day, regular readers. As occasionally happens, you are receiving an extra post, so you can stop scrambling for your calendar. You do not have the days muddled. Instead, I have a response to a prompt from We Write Poems.

We Write Poems asked us to consider writing poetry: We know that’s not likely all black or white, each poem stands on its’ own. And maybe a poem can just be as it is – without a judge or jury speaking up. But how is it for you as a writer? That’s the question here. How do poems “arrive” for you? Is it more receiving or sculpting for you? Is there a distance between what you have in mind and what gets onto the page? What about language too? Help or hinder do you think? Are poems integral with your life or more casual? All can be summed – how’s the process of writing for you?

Pulled for revision.

Thanks to Neil Reid for the title, but that is how poems happen for me. They arrive in two states: an idea of a poem which I mull and marinate in my head until it is in shape to write the first draft, or, full-blown in an immediate response to a picture or prompt [a much rarer occurrence].

To read others’ responses, head over to We Write Poems here.


Posted by on 13/04/2011 in poetry, writing


Tags: , , , , , , ,

18 responses to “Writing Poems

  1. Linda Hofke

    13/04/2011 at 8:57 am

    Impatient for live, for freedom. So true. And I love the last stanza.

  2. margo roby

    13/04/2011 at 9:21 am

    That’s my favourite too, Linda.

  3. Mr. Walker

    13/04/2011 at 9:26 am

    I like the theme of magic running through your poem – that “they breathe” is magical. I really like that second stanza with magic, stories, lives, and truths.

    • margo roby

      13/04/2011 at 9:54 am

      I think that may be my favourite line. Thank you.

  4. booguloo

    13/04/2011 at 9:45 am

    Reads like the essence of poetry for me.

    • margo roby

      13/04/2011 at 9:53 am

      Hello! haven’t seen you in a while. Thank you.

  5. 1sojournal

    13/04/2011 at 11:25 am

    I have both of those experiences, the wondering through the words, or coming full blown, almost tripping over one another in their eagerness. And then there is that in-between place as well, a blending of both in parts and pieces. You describe the process well and I love those last few lines,


    • margo roby

      13/04/2011 at 12:40 pm

      Thank you, Elizabeth. I thought I saw yours earlier but it had disappeared when I went back, so I am going to go check again.

  6. Josephine

    13/04/2011 at 1:28 pm

    It happens both ways for me. And maybe most frequently, it’s a combination of the two. I’ll get the first bit (or once in a while the middle) by the download-from-the-ether method but then I have to mull and sort to find the rest of it.
    Enjoyed your poem start to finish.

    • margo roby

      13/04/2011 at 1:31 pm

      Your description more accurately matches what usually happens to me, Josephine. The idea and a line or two will be there and then I start shaping, pulling, pushing, putting in a closet 😉 Thank you.

  7. poetrydiary

    14/04/2011 at 4:37 am

    I used to love paper, and notebooks too, and ink pens and the physical joy of writing. I think I still do, but my writing has found new and unexpected wings in the last year with little devices that can take spontaneous writing at unexpected times – otherwise I fear much would not get written at all – so on the one hand it’s good to be reminded of the proper way of doing it, and on the other you’ve made me reflect with amazement on my own conversion to electronic media!

    • margo roby

      14/04/2011 at 7:59 am

      I find that a first draft has to be written on paper. I cannot see it when I type. I only see it and how it works and can play with it when it is in ink on paper. Having said that, once I do transfer the poem to computer, it often takes new directions especially with line breaks. I have been trying to find the ideal electronic device to carry around for when I am on the move. I find phones too small and laptops too big, but I have my eye on a Samsung Galaxy that might carry me further down the road to writing onto the computer. I don’t know though…I still redraft older poems from computer onto paper…

  8. Mike Patrick

    15/04/2011 at 2:41 pm

    Marvelous poem. I’ve really enjoyed all the takes on this prompt. The processes can be so diverse yet always come out with a poem. The poems are as diverse as the processes.

    • margo roby

      15/04/2011 at 2:52 pm

      Thank you. I enjoy poets on poetry. The poems tend to be good and, as you say, all different.

  9. marcys

    29/04/2011 at 12:15 pm

    My poems arrive or I don’t write any. Whether or not the poetry muse visit depends on what I’m doing with my life, how quiet it is. Thus, I have had very few visitations for two decades of urban life while writing for a living. 20 years ago living in the country, practicing yoga, deep breathing, solitude, the poems came at least twice a week. Sigh.

    • margo roby

      29/04/2011 at 12:34 pm

      To some degree I am like that, but now that my energy is not put into my teaching, I have more to devote to being open for the muse. I sometimes get in her way. It’s harder to create what you had in the country, because it takes more energy, but at least you know what it is you require. Good luck. That was a heartfelt sigh.


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