Writing Poetry From the Outside In?

Writing Poetry From the Outside In?

What do you use to help you write poetry when the well runs dry or to keep the well primed?
The last few days I’ve been experimenting with forcing myself to write everyday no matter how the day gets away from me.  I have been using the word groups from Writing Poetry From the Inside Out. I like this book a lot and the word groups tend to work well for me. 

Picking up the book before I go to bed, I am usually thinking something like, “I don’t want to write tonight, nothing is coming to mind, I’m not inspired, I’m too tired.” Then, I find myself thinking about what I would write if I was inspired, wasn’t too tired or something did come to mind and low and behold something appears.  Then, I peruse the word groups and magically one pops out. 

I used to write only when inspired.  Lately, life has been far too chaotic and busy for the quiet inspiration muse.  She goes far away when I am not still contemplating the sunlight through the trees.  I am finding that the word groups act as a proxy muse.  They aren’t as satisfying as the inspiration muse, but they aren’t bad.  One of these even won first place in a contest, so go figure!

Maybe the inspiration muse isn’t the only way to keep the well flowing after all. I would rather write poetry with her than anyone or anything else, but when she sulks off because I am not listening maybe I can listen to a canned muse in a book.

Have you guys tried this approach?  Does it work for you?  How do you stay connected to your writing?  Maybe we can help each other by sharing our ideas.

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Licoricetwist said...

Yes - I too have found the word groups in the book you mention (as well as other kinds of exercises I've found in other books) really useful. It gets me outside my normal rut of thinking and into new perspectives. Sometimes I'm really surprised by what comes out of it!

I wonder, though, if 'writing every day' is just a different sort of excessive constraint as 'writing only when inspired'? Or 'only writing what first hits the page'?


Poet on Poetry said...

Hi Chris, thank you for your comment. I have found another book that is excellent for getting the pump flowing-Wingeats by Dos Gatos Press. Both are excellent.

I agree that "writing every day" can be an excessive restraint that impedes inspiration. I also think that it is easy for life to slurp up my inspiration and time too, if I don't make space for it. I think it is about balance.