Fun Places to Find Inspiration

For Poets

by Ellen Gwin

  1. Wordplay
    Poets play with words intuitively, but there’s nothing wrong with doing so consciously as well.
    • Go on Wikipedia’s page “List of forms of word play” and use it to your advantage. 
    • Pick 1 or more and practice writing a whole poem using them!
  2. Research Engines
    scholar.google.com
    jstor.org
    academic.microsoft.com
    researcchgate.net
    • Use research engines to find inspiration for symbols, metaphors, allusions, etc. 
    • Research about: History, religion, earthly wonders, comparative literature. 
    • For example: Because Shakespeare drew a lot of inspiration from Ovid, I sometimes research articles discussing their works.
  3. Read Books
    Stephen King always stresses you have to read to write and totally he’s right. I always write a poem (or 3) after a day of reading!
    • Philosophy, literature, poetry, sociology, etc. 
  4. People Watching
    People watch and imagine a life for them!
    • Think about their past, their present, and future, think about their thoughts, friends, job, etc.
    • Cafés, parks, restaurants, movies, or just throughout your daily life.
  5. Translation
    Studying words and playing with words through translation is a great way to stimulate your mind and find inspiration. Often when we are already working with words, poetry comes easier.
    By translating you can see how words are moved around for a “proper” sentence structure and the full function of each word. 
    • For example:
      • Tu me manques in French literally translates to I am missing from you, but in English we use it as the equivalent of I miss you.
      • However, if in English would would tell someone that I miss you, one would say you’re missing from me to indicate the emptiness felt from the lack of their presence, not I am missing from you as this would come across as entitled.
      • So, as you can see translation can be more subjective than one thinks and is a fun way to draw inspiration.
  6. Make Your Words/Thoughts Physical
    • Make thinking maps
    • Make your poems or even other people’s poems into collages
    • Visualizing your poems/thoughts in unique ways could help you reach the results you’re looking for or inspire you in a new way.
  7. Use Prompts
    • There’s tons of prompts on instagram! Maybe you don’t like prompts and that’s fine, but if do then check out the hashtag #PoetryPrompts
    • Prompts are fun because you can use them word for word or use whatever idea they inspire!
  8. Other Forms of Art
    As I said earlier with words in #5, when working with art one tends to feel more apt to produce art. 
    • Either view paintings online, go to a local museum, or pick up some acrylics yourself and engage with art! Even if you’re bad at painting (like me) it’s still fun and interesting to work with the colors yourself. 
    • Listen to music (with or without lyrics). Sing to the music with lyrics, dance (ridiculously) to the music without lyrics!
    • There’s tons of different art forms one could use to find inspiration, find yours and go for it.

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