Poetry Workshop: How to Get Started

Often we feel the urge to let out our thoughts in a way that the words resemble our feelings. In our brief poetry workshop today we, at Daastan, will help you step by step in discovering a poet within you! Hopefully by the end of this follow along article, you will have a poem to show for it. Now, keep in mind that writing is an active process and skill that gets better with time. Which is to say, do not expect perfection the first time. Instead, invest time and effort and most of all, enjoy the process!

Step 1: Free write!

This is a flexible poetry workshop that expects no prior knowledge on anyone’s part. Which means that the first thing to be accomplished is comfort with writing. Now, what can be better for comfort than free writing? Get out your papers and pens (or your laptops/phones) and simply write whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t have to make any logical sense and it absolutely does not have to be a wonderfully elegant piece. In fact, the messier and all over the place- the better!

Of course, you may be wondering: what is the purpose of this exercise? Firstly, it helps you get used to putting your internal stream of thoughts, externally. Secondly, it also creates a foundation on which you can choose to build the rest of your poem on. Thirdly, it is quite cathartic- think of it as a journal entry but on steroids.

Step 2: Start Focusing the Poem

Moving on, don’t worry too much about the form and structure of the poem. All that comes with practice and familiarity- you can experiment all you want with the various forms available. Or you can even choose to completely disregard form and structure and stick to a free verse. After all, it is your poem and you decide how to best convey it.

However, what is needed in any poem is focus. You have free written and there must be multiple themes present in front of you. There are now two things you can do. Either go through the available themes and pick the one you are most attracted to. Or, you can go through a list of poetry prompts, pick one and then alter your free verse to fit it! The internet is full of all sorts of poetry prompts- from structural to seasonal, to thematic; there is a world of prompts for you to choose from.

Step 3: Mix it All Up

You have a theme now, from the prompt or of your own picking. Additionally, you also have a foundation to work off of. Something that you may optionally do is browse various poetry verses that seem to fit the mood that you are going for. After all, there is a world of a difference between inspiration and plagiarism and we can all do with a little bit of inspiration. You may go through pre-selected favourites, explore new ones on tumblr or other social media platforms or books.

However, do not disregard music in your exploration of inspiration! So often we forget that music is rich with not just audible lyricism but textual lyricism as well. Finally, all that is left is for you to combine all the elements and make something out of it. Remember, simplicity is key when it comes to poetry- especially when starting out.

Try not to hide behind words, but make each of those words matter.

Poetry Workshop Additional Resources

For your ease, we will be listing prompts and poetry exercises that may be helpful to your poetic adventures! However, do your own research and find your own style in accordance to your preferences. Most of all, remember to keep writing and not hold yourself against standards of impossible excellence.

  1. 22 Poetry Prompts
  2. Weekly Prompts
  3. Poetry and Practice
  4. Purdue Lab Poetry Exercises

Keep a look out for further poetry workshops and let us know if you would be interested in Daastan‘s very own prompts and exercises with further in-depth workshops!



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