Advice for New Poets



The question, perennial I think, is what advice is best for writers just starting out.  Since I consider myself an emerging writer, what follows is advice I follow myself.

Study modern poetry.  One great resource is Coursera’s Mod Po, which starts September 6.  It’s free and worth every minute you spend on it.

Get a book.  I’ve found The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux is one of the best.  There is material on what to write as well as the craft of writing it.

Join a group.  Most states have a poetry organization like the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets (WFOP).   You’ll meet poets who live near you.  The organization will likely hold regional readings, sponsor workshops and conferences and other poetry related activities, and may be able to connect you with a critique group where you can get feedback from fellow writers.

Keep writing.  Remember, it’s the process not the outcome you need to focus on.  Here’s a recent blog post on the Lake Region Writers Network, that drives home that point very nicely.


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