• Vincent Sell

On Writing Poetry


Poetry is one of the great loves of my life. And if I were just as enthusiastic about a sport, for example, I’d probably be writing about that right now. Not only do I love writing it, but I love reading it. Finding a poem that resonates with me ranks right up there with writing one. But since I’ve titled this blog, “On Writing Poetry,” I think I should say a few things to the layperson or beginner poet about it.

First rule: Writing and sharing poetry guarantees that you will look foolish. Every poet has written a poem that makes them look like a pretentious idiot with their head stuck up their ass. I’ve written such poems.

Second rule: Find a reason to write poetry. Who are you writing for and why? Are you writing to someone you love to let them know how much you appreciate them? Are you writing to an unknown reader to share your experience with them, because that is something you benefited so much from? Whatever the reason, find it.

Third rule: You must write! Ralph Waldo Emerson gave the advice, “Write a verse every day.” And that’s a wonderful place to start. As to the specific techniques, go out and find them for yourself. Read poetry, read books about poetry. The unique methods you develop to practice your craft will determine your unique style.

Fourth rule: Take the leap and share your poetry. And this brings us back to the first rule: You are going to be embarrassed. In fact, if you are not embarrassed, your poetry is probably not a true expression of your being. Now, this doesn’t mean poetry is simply about letting it all hang out, but it is about putting your soul into it—the unknown, magical part of yourself that connects with the unknown, magical part of this world.