Saturday, 10 December 2011

Writing well

Here is some advice on writing poetry by Charles Simic, a Serbian-American poet, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1990 and Poet Laureate in 2007. I think his advice is applicable to any good writing? When blogging, I am unsure how much one considers one's readership. With smaller blogs it is probably more essential to focus on a specific area and so build up a readership - but with very popular blogs, I wonder if the writers think about what they are posting or if they are just glad 100 000 people are reading it daily. 

Charles Simic on Writing Poetry

A few things to keep in mind while sitting down to write a poem:

  1. Don't tell the readers what they already know about life.
  2. Don't assume you're the only one in the world who suffers.
  3. Some of the greatest poems in the language are sonnets and poems not many lines longer than that, so don't overwrite.
  4. The use of images, similes and metaphors make poems concise. Close your eyes, and let your imagination tell you what to do.
  5. Say the words you are writing aloud and let your ear decide what word comes next.
  6. What you are writing down is a draft that will need additional tinkering, perhaps many months, and even years of tinkering.
  7. Remember, a poem is a time machine you are constructing, a vehicle that will allow someone to travel in their own mind, so don't be surprised if it takes a while to get all its engine parts properly working.

I read that everything that is worth doing takes time. I like writing, but I am sure it can be much ameliorated by following some of Simic's advice.

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