You wouldn’t think to look at me, but I tried my hand at poetry once upon a time (some of it’s even published) but, I’m happy to admit right now, I never really took to it. It takes a certain passion, I think and, truth be known, I just don’t have it.
There are a few purists out there who will tell us that we can’t learn how to be poets from a book (or, in this case, the internet). This is probably true – poetry, they say, comes from within us, we write poetry because we have to, we can’t stop ourselves.
But, as with all kinds of creativity, there are guidelines to be followed (or at least known and ignored) when it comes to poetry and, for anyone keen to give it a go but short on knowledge of how to do it, there is plenty of help out there in the big-bad-internet-world.
Creative-writing-now.com is always a good first port-of-call for any writing-related-query and poetry is most definitely served well here. Starting by talking about the very definition of poetry, the website then guides us through its basest elements, such as structure, metre and rhyming schemes. It also goes through the different kinds of poetry such as sonnets, ballads and limericks.
Creative Writing student Kara Zeihl also has a lot to teach us as she offers her own brand of straight-talking advice. Some of it is remarkably similar to what we learn about novel/short story/script-writing – know what you’re trying to achieve, avoid clichés and over-sentimentality, etc. – but she also talks about the importance of using imagery and metaphors, subverting the ordinary and, of course, the rules of rhyming.
Ireland has probably one of the largest per-capita populations of poets in the world and Poetry Ireland recognises this and offers comprehensive support for that community. On their website is all the latest poetry-related news, a calendar of relevant events, listings for courses and competitions, writers’ workshops, an online bookshop and a poetry assessment service. It also showcases Ireland’s poets of years-gone-by and today – Stephen James Smith’s ‘Ticking Clock’ currently features.
The Poetry Foundation is a universal and independent organisation who commitment is, as they say on their own website poetryfoundation.org, ‘a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture’. Offering similar services as Poetry Ireland, the foundation’s website also has Audio, Video and Podcast sections as well as workshops for children’s poetry and a link to let us subscribe to their monthly print magazine.
Speaking of poetry for the children, there is definitely no shortage of online-content for any of the younger generation giving poetry a try. Poet Kenn Nesbitt, as well as carving a niche for himself as a writer of poetry for children and publishing a number of poetry collections, has also set up poetry4kids.com, a fun and informative website, offering lessons, guidance and support for kids (and parents) who want to start writing poetry.
And when the kids have had a go and now have a few poems written, they should have a look at the GigglePoetry.com, where they can read, rate and comment on poetry by other young people and, importantly, publish their own. They can also visit the poetry theatre and test their knowledge with some fun word-games.
“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” – Robert Frost.
The First Port-of-Call
Creative Writing Now was created by writing teachers as a free service to provide a supportive and friendly place for poets at all stages in their writing lives and is a vast resource for anyone starting out writing.
“Do you want to learn how to write poetry or how to improve as a poet? Would you like step-by-step advice on how to get poetry ideas and turn them into poems? You’re in the right place!”
What The Student Can Teach Us.
Creative Writing student Kara Zeihl offers her own brand of advice on writing poetry.
“Kara Ziehl is now required reading for budding student poets in my classes.”
The Land of Poets.
Poetry Ireland celebrates and supports the vast community of poetry in Ireland and are dedicated to developing, supporting and promoting poetry through Ireland.
“Poetry Ireland is committed to creating meaningful encounters with poetry for the public.”
A Home for Poetry.
The Poetry Foundation, around since 1912, is committed to giving poetry a vigorous presence in culture.
“The Poetry Foundation works to raise poetry to a more visible and influential position.”
Won’t Somebody Think Of The Children?
Kenn Nesbitt’s Poetry4Kids is a fun and informative place for children who want to write poetry.
“I have put together this web site to share some of my poems with kids around the world.”
Have a Giggle.
Publish your poetry, read other people’s and generally have fun with poetry on GigglePoetry.com.
“Read interviews with your favourite poets and ask your own questions!”