From Kate's Writing Crate…
As a reader, I always love finding books that appeal to me. As a writer, I am twice as pleased when the authors also provide masterclasses within their books.
Masterclasses take place when performance artists and musicians work one-on-one with students. Writers don't generally have this option, but I have found some books to be masterclasses for characters, back stories, plots, settings, voice and/or creativity.
As soon as I read a book that immediately gets me writing, I want to share it with every writer I know.
Before I go into more detail, I want to stress I am a writer, not a poet. However, I think poets have a lot to teach all writers as they capture minute details and moments in time using gorgeous turns of phrases.
Author, poet, and teacher Sandford Lyne believes everyone is a poet so they should start writing poems now. "With courage and honesty you initiate yourself as an artist-seeker, a lifelong learner, a worker in depth, in vertical perceptions, in discovered truths."
In his book Writing Poetry from the Inside Out: Finding Your Voice Through the Craft of Poetry, Lyne advocates poem-sketching [as] "it is a playful, open-ended approach; it draws upon and uses the wealth of our experiences, provides a vehicle for the specialized intelligence and expressiveness of the emotions, occupies the mind with simple puzzles to solve (the mind enjoys puzzles), and, finally is built on and requires the use of our intuition. And all of this happens in a blink of an eye; simultaneously, naturally, without having to think about it."
The key to beginning poem-sketching is to look at the over 50 pages of four-word groups until one grabs your attention. Then write phrases or sentences incorporating those four words. Sounds simple, and it is, and it works.
I was hesitant at first thinking I am not a poet. This is not going to work for me…and then I saw four words that inspired me. I flashed back to when I was nine and then a poem poured out of me. It was in rough form, but I worked on it until I was surprised with the satisfaction and joy I felt with my finished poem.
Lyne also encourages writers to make up lists of words for more advanced poem-sketching. He gives specific directions for different types of words to include in each four-word grouping to make them powerful, attractive, and inspiring.
This is another way for writers to hone their craft. It's crucial to find exact words. To notice specific details, feelings, actions, and surroundings. It forces us to use and expand our observation skills and vocabularies.
Then we use our original voices to combine the words into poems. "One function of poem-sketching is to awaken your ability to produce images in words…writing poetry is about playing with words, exploring the possibilities of combining words into sentences and fragments, rearranging lines into finished poems."
Lyne notes: "…the happiest, most successful, most fulfilled people I know are the ones who, over time, gave themselves the most permissions—in all areas of their lives…The best writers give themselves the most permissions."
Give yourself permission to try poem-sketching. "Along the way, each person on the path of the poem finds his or her own vocabulary, his or her own metaphors for recognizing and naming the experiences."
Poem-sketching makes us better writers. It's also fun!