In writing a poem I usually know what I want to say and how to say it, before I start. This involves thinking, planning, editing. During the past week, however, I had a different experience.
I started writing a poem to present at our monthly poetry group, Jozi House of Poetry, with the theme ‘new beginnings’. Pressure to produce something made me sit down to work. I wrote the first line, stolen from a random list in my diary, ‘God, mythology, creed’. I chewed the back of my pen, then another line popped into my head. Dutifully I wrote it down.
This happened for the entire poem, not being conscious of direction or theme, just writing what came to me, regardless.
After the last line I had no idea what the poem was about. But on reading it, I liked it. It turned out to be one of my better poems.
That made me think that creative control isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. We are so steeped in writing advice and technique that it can stifle the process. Sometimes you just have to let go and welcome the muse.
How do you write poetry? What is your process? I would love to hear from you.