New ways of writing poetry

Wordsworth’s definition of poetry: “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility”


I’m doing this online course ‘How to make a poem’ presented by Manchester Metropolitan University on Future Learn and I’m enjoying it tremendously. The title caught my attention because one hardly thinks of writing poetry as something you ‘make’. But that is exactly their approach. It takes the preciousness out of poetry writing by presenting tools you can use to write. And boy have I learned a lot.

During the first week I wrote a cento, a two line poem. You choose two poems and then take a line from each, creating a cento. My effort was from Maya Angelou’s poem ‘The Caged Bird’ (scroll down to read it here –posted on 23 October 2019) and ‘To do list’ a poem by  Simon Armitage .

I came up with

But a bird that stalks

Skim(s) duckweed from ornamental pond

Now tell me that isn’t poetry! Apparently in the copyright of poetry you are allowed to use one line only. Some poets have created whole poems like this. I don’t know if it’s cheating. What do you think?

In the second week we learned, among other things, rhyme, line breaks, and metre. I have expanded my knowledge of writing poetry and will experiment with different forms, for example a sonnet (haven’t done that before). There are so many forms: ghazal, villanelle, haiku etc. As a poet I want to give myself the challenge of attempting some of them.

I’m looking forward to the third week. If you want to know more about the course click here

#writing #amwriting #poetry

4 thoughts on “New ways of writing poetry

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