I Only Rhyme Some of the Time

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Alright, folks. Nine days, nine poems. I didn’t think that was even possible, but hey, apparently it was.

Here are some things I learned from nine days of writing a poem a day:

  1. Carry a notebook with you. And a pen. Always. When you think of a cool phrase or a tasty rhyme, STOP EVERYTHING AND WRITE IT DOWN. I know that you think you’ll remember, but trust me, you won’t. Unless you write it down. Can I overemphasize this? No. No I can’t.
  2. Look at things. Don’t just look, but really study the objects and environments you see. When you eat something, think about what you’re tasting. When you hear something, what does it remind you of? You may discover there is no word for what you see or taste or hear, and therefore you have to come up with a word or several words that will accurately describe what you experienced.
  3. Walk. This point is closely related to point 2. If you’re going to study things, you need to get out there and study them.
  4. Think about the poem all day. Alright, so I’m not very good at this. Often what I wrote was written in the hour before midnight. But the poem I published yesterday I had been thinking about since the previous Saturday. That poem had to happen. It may not have been the best of the nine, but it was definitely the most deliberate. And it made my mother laugh, so it was worth it.
  5. Read poems by the pros. These people must have gotten published for some reason. They must know what they’re doing—right? So read what they wrote, enjoy it, and take notes.
  6. Look for the poems. They’re out there, just waiting to pounce onto your shoulder. They’re hiding in the pause between traffic light changes. They’re waiting in the pages of old leather-bound books. They’re waiting in the roiling clouds of thunderstorms. They’re peeking from the petals of the flower that girl is wearing behind her ear. They’re at the bottom of a cup of tea. They’re perched on the glasses of the stranger in the coffee shop. They are everywhere, and all you have to do is have your pen and paper handy, ready to catch them.

Writing poems has now become one of my addictions. I got used to writing them after a week of posting a poem every day. This post almost came out in rhyme. Hopefully this healthy addiction will stick throughout the coming semester. Poem-a-week, poem-a-month, poem-a-whatever, poetry has got to happen. I don’t think I can help myself anymore. Ack.

This is going to make paying attention in class very, very difficult.

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