This workshop is designed as a month-long intensive to give you the tools to capture and even transform your daily experience through the act of writing poems. The workshop can be adapted for shorter periods of time, but for the deepest experience, spending half an hour a day for a full month will change everything. Promise.
Reading and writing poetry is a way to become more aware in your daily life. In order to write good poems, you have to sharpen your powers of attention and observation. It’s a way to wake up and a way to keep dreaming.
I’ve outlined a four-week guide that you can follow to the letter, or you can skim through for ideas that light you up as you go. While you’re at it, sign up for The Daily Poet, which will send a different poet from our anthology to your inbox each morning. You’ll get a taste of their work and what they think about poetry, and an exclusive writing exercise by them that you can tackle on your own. Some exercises are simple and some are more complex — keep an open mind and give each one a go. Even if you don’t follow the exercise exactly, let it stimulate something in you and follow that spark wherever it leads. Make a commitment to write a little bit every day and at the end of the month, I guarantee you will have surprised yourself.
Before you begin, here’s some advice Margaret Atwood wanted to share with you:
- “Keep all drafts.”
- “Always have a notebook with you.”
- “Repetitive, mindless activities such as floor sweeping can be helpful.”
- “Don’t expect to make any money at it. Get a day job.”
To paraphrase the poet Karen Solie, poetry may not be a way to make a living, but it can give you a way to live.