How does somebody who's never written poetry before get started?
JUST WRITE!! it works best when you have a flow of emotion... just write down what you are feelin maby try to rhyme... free form poetry is probably the easiest way to start but you can always look at other formats and apply them to your thoughts.
Read, read, read lots of poetry. Read different poets to see what makes poetry goo and makes it work. I agree with Tara McNair that free form is easier to begin with. Sometimes people twist and convolute sentences to create rhyme. That causes readers who know poetry and sentence structure to leave. Decide on a subject, perhaps by looking through a book of photos or reading a journal, then set down your thoughts . Don't worry about them making sense or being in poetry form. Then go back and create your poem. I hope it works out for you.
Walk outside and observe everything, focus on the details, even the most miniscule, take time to reflect, then categorize the things you have seen, write what you see, what you hear, what you smell, how you feel, ext, down on paper. proof read and see what you come up with. (The best poetry in the world is derived from our individual observations out of our individual life's.) then read a lot of poetry to see what format is best for your poems.....After a while you will form your own structure.
Yes, they're right, they're all right. Everyone has the ability to write poetry. It's just a matter of how well you are able to access your emotions and how well you can express your observations. What do you have deep emotions about? That's always a good place to start. Read a lot of poetry by other authors, such as "The Best American Poetry" which is available by year all the way back to the early '90's. There you can compare the voices of many different styles on a wide range of topics. Just play around, and you might be surprised what you have inside of you!
Tara gave my answer. Have a thought. Write it down. See where it goes. I may not be the best poet to ask because my poems are incredibly short, but I hope they say something. Good luck.
Start writing. Let out your inspiration by what's around your environment or inside your thoughts and emotions. A poem doesn't need many "difficult" words. What I mean is, try "simple" first. Don't force yourself beyond your limits just yet.
Another advice would be you reading poetry. Look at other people's methods when writing their poetry and create your own method that will be most comfortable to you.
Just do it! You will find your own style and the words will come out of you. Write from the heart, if it's the head it usually stuffs it up! Poetry is usually personal and it's more important that it pleases you and not necessarily those reading it.
I'll try to give a different answer from the others (although they're all good).
Before writing poetry, start reading poetry (and listening to it!). The point isn't to be able to define what a sonnet is vs a tanka but rather to get a feel for a style (and everyone has one), themes and techniques that "talk" to you. Then you can seek out well-known poets who have really mastered those. If you are a podcast sort of person, I would highly reccommend listening one of the various Poetry Foundation series (my favorite is "Essential American Poets").
Then just write...ok, not *just* write. Have a purpose: an idea, message, emotion, picture...something that you want to get across and make gettting it across as vividly as you can your mission. And just focus on one idea...more than that is hard for you or the eventual reader to really focus on. One's plenty. ;-)
Last: write regularly. Every day if you can. Writing is like anything else: natural talent aside, if you want to develop the skill, you need to work at it. Don't be afraid to write "bad poetry"...every poet on Earth does. In fact, I find writing bad poetry really helps the creative process...clears your system, sort of speak. As Bukowski once wrote, he liked to reward himself with a "candy-ass poem" after being particularly productive. ;-)
Good luck! :-)
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