Ten Tips for Writing Poetry

Some tips to get you writing poems.

All Things Creative

Ten Tips for Writing Poetry

I’d like to share some creative ‘practice prompts’  which should get you writing whether you’ve got writer’s block or simply need a new angle. Please comment and post your poems!

  1. Write a poem using the titles of books. See my tribute poem to Colin Wilson on my blog.
  2. Create a list poem. Using a food recipe as a model, list the ingredients which make up a fulfilling life; or the opposite. Or make a numerical list of instructions for attaining contentment and happiness. A variation is to list what your pet does during a typical day. Anthropomorphising animals is a long tradition and there have been some very eloquent dogs and cats lurking in literature!
  3. Write a poem from another point of view. A bit like number 2 but you could choose something inanimate. Traditionally the elements (wind, the sea, the sun) have been personified…

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Visiting Thomas Bewick’s Birthplace

I visited Cherryburn last weekend. Its the birthplace of Thomas Bewick who is regarded as one of Britain’s greatest wood engravers. I wonder how well known he is outside the UK. Answers please not on a postcard but here on the comments!  I wrote this poem, partly in my car, after walking in the woods.

After Visiting Thomas Bewick’s Birthplace.

Here, the chainsaw carver’s used the stump

of a beech to carve a bat.

Bewick used boxwood to chisel

his woodblocks – then

his pressman pressed

damp paper again and again

onto his blacked birds and beasts.


I walk further into the wood

and see one hand beckoning

and one hand offering.

I sit in the palm

of the offering hand and wonder

at the patience of trees

and Bewick’s meticulous chiselling.


Red Kite on Pylon

512px-Red_Kite_32_(5939318225)I’m working on a longer eco-poem about red kites. In the meantime this one was inspired by one of Ted Hughes’ where he personifies/anthropomorphises a hawk.

Red Kite on Pylon


I sit on a strut of a pylon,

on top of a hill,

scanning the ground.

My kind rarely kill;

we scavenge for corpses; bits

and pieces of flesh.

This is our life most days.

It took a billion years

to perfect my amber eyes,

my brown forked tail,

and my scavenging ways.

Hell (The Scream)

Back to Edvard Munch


Hell (The Scream)


Sartre famously thought it was

other people. An art critic thought it was

being locked in a small room

with Edvard Munch for all eternity.

The Nordic Cartographer of Hell said, 

“Disease and insanity were the black angels

at my cradle.”


His men and women writhe

in anguish – staggering from the canvas

into our cities, into our waiting rooms,

into our laps.


The scream crossing

the bridge reverberates throughout time and space,

turning Wordsworth’s view of nature

inside out.

Edvard Munch "Der Schrei"