Is becoming a poet right for me?

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What do poets do?

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How to become a Poet

Becoming a poet requires a deep passion for language, a love of words, and a dedication to honing your craft. Here are some detailed steps to help you on your journey to becoming a poet:

  • Read poetry widely and deeply: As a poet, you need to read extensively to develop your understanding of poetry. Read works from classic poets like William Shakespeare, John Keats, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and contemporary poets like Claudia Rankine, Terrance Hayes, Ocean Vuong, and many others. Pay attention to the different styles, forms, themes, and techniques used by the poets. Read with a critical eye, analyzing the structure, sound, and meaning of the poems.
  • Develop your writing skills: Writing is the cornerstone of becoming a poet. You need to practice writing regularly to hone your craft. Start by setting aside time each day or week to write. Set specific writing goals for each session, such as writing a certain number of lines or a complete poem. Experiment with different styles, forms, and themes. Don't worry about being perfect at first, just let your creativity flow.
  • Join a writing group or poetry workshop: Writing can be a solitary activity, but it helps to connect with other poets to receive feedback, support, and inspiration. Join a writing group in your community or take a poetry workshop. This will give you a chance to share your work, receive feedback, and learn from other poets. You can also attend poetry readings or join online poetry communities to connect with other poets.
  • Learn about different forms of poetry: Poetry comes in many forms, such as sonnets, haikus, villanelles, sestinas, and more. Each form has its own rules, rhythms, and requirements. Learning about different forms will expand your knowledge of poetry and give you more tools to work with. Experiment with different forms to find the ones that suit your writing style and voice.
  • Revise your work: Writing is rewriting. Once you have a draft of your poem, revise it multiple times. Look for ways to improve the language, structure, and meaning of the poem. Experiment with different word choices, metaphors, and images. Ask yourself if the poem achieves the effect you intended. Share your revised poem with other poets for feedback.
  • Read your work aloud: Poetry is an oral art. Reading your poem aloud can help you hear the sound, rhythm, and flow of the language. It can also help you identify areas that need improvement, such as awkward phrasing or lack of musicality. Reading aloud can also help you memorize your poem and perform it in public.
  • Submit your work for publication: Once you have a collection of polished poems, consider submitting them to literary magazines, poetry contests, or online forums. Research publications that match your writing style and themes. Follow their submission guidelines carefully. Be prepared for rejection, as it is a normal part of the submission process. Keep submitting and revising your work until you find the right publication for your poetry.

There are a variety of workshops available for poets, both in-person and online. Here are some options:

  • Poetry Writing Workshop: This workshop is designed for poets of all levels and focuses on the craft of poetry writing. Participants will have the opportunity to share their work and receive feedback from both the instructor and their peers.
  • Ekphrastic Poetry Workshop: This workshop focuses on the art of ekphrasis, or writing about art. Participants will explore different approaches to writing about visual art, including using descriptive language, creating narratives, and interpreting meaning.
  • Found Poetry Workshop: In this workshop, participants will explore the art of found poetry, which involves taking existing texts and reworking them into poetic form. Participants will learn about different techniques for creating found poetry and will have the opportunity to share their work and receive feedback.
  • Performance Poetry Workshop: This workshop is designed for poets who are interested in performing their work. Participants will learn about different techniques for writing poetry that is meant to be performed, as well as strategies for delivering their work effectively in front of an audience.
  • Poetry Manuscript Workshop: This workshop is designed for poets who are working on a collection of poems. Participants will have the opportunity to share their work and receive feedback on both individual poems and the collection as a whole. The workshop will also cover strategies for organizing and submitting a poetry manuscript for publication.

Online Resources
There are many online resources available for poets, including:

  • Poets & Writers: This website offers information on writing contests, literary magazines, grants, and fellowships.
  • Academy of American Poets: This organization promotes poetry and offers resources for poets, including writing prompts, articles, and a directory of poets.
  • Writer's Digest: This website offers articles on various aspects of writing, including poetry, and also provides information on contests and markets for poetry.
  • Poetry Foundation: This organization offers a wealth of resources for poets, including a database of poems, interviews with poets, and articles on poetry.
  • The Poetry Society: This UK-based organization offers resources for poets, including writing prompts, poetry news, and opportunities for publication.
  • The Poetry Archive: This website features recordings of poets reading their own work, as well as information on various poets and their poems.
  • The Writer's Center: This nonprofit organization offers online writing workshops, including workshops specifically focused on poetry.
  • Poem-a-Day: This website offers a new poem every day, as well as information on the poets and the poems.