At selfpublishbooks.ie, we've put together some simple tips to get you started.
Ten Tips to Getting Your Poet's Voice
1. Read - Read all kinds of poetry, from classical to beat, home grown to international and from a range of eras. Think about which poems you like best. Ask yourself why these are your favourites. If certain poetry styles appeal to you as a reader, they may appeal to you as a writer. Look at podcasts of poetry being read out. Listen to poetry. Find out what you like and what sort of poetry you'd like to compose. You will find your own style.
2. Rhyme? - Does you poem need to rhyme? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. Either way don't go down the route of penning a line just so it rhymes with one above it. Think about why you want it to rhyme. Perhaps you could make use of assonance, alliteration or rhythm.
3. Sound - Read your poetry aloud. Simple, but reading your work aloud can bring it to life. It can be a good way to test your poem.
4. Length - Put simply, stop when the poem needs to stop. Some great poems are long. Some aren't. Think about what you have to say. Does your poem tell a story? Is it abstract? Don't be tempted to water down your work by adding more than you need. Know when to stop.
5. Look Around - You just might be inspired by the sights, sounds and smells of ordinary life. They may also spark memories of childhood or experience.
6. Title - Think carefully about your title. It is part of your poem? It may feature in the poem, or it may not. It has to give some meaning to the poem, even if it is abstract.
7. Emotion - Poems have the knack of stirring emotion in a short space of time. Don't fear emotion in you or your reader.
8. Words - It may sound obvious but every word matters. Read and re-read your work. Write down words which are evoked by the your theme or subject. Use only the ones which you think are perfect for your work. Every pause, line end and word counts.
9. Write What Matters - to you. If you don't believe in your poem, don't expect others to. Care about your theme and others will too.
10. Edit - Put your poem down and come back to it later. Does it still read exactly as you wanted it to or do you need to change a few things? Are you going to move words, lines or stanzas? Read it aloud again. Are there words which don't fit into the flow of the poem? Do you need to add or subtract? When you feel it is right it could be time to "leave well enough alone!"
Remember that all writing takes a bit of practice. The most important thing is to keep writing. You may surprise yourself.
If you're thinking about self-publishing your poetry collection, why not contact selfpublishbooks.ie to discuss your work?