how to find inspiration for writing poetry

Inspiration is always within reach.

There is no lack of inspiration for those who are willing to open their eyes. What are your surroundings like today? Take a moment to tune into all of your senses. Notice the sights and sounds, sensations and emotions, tastes and smells. There is plenty around you to inspire you. The trouble is choosing your focus and beginning to create.

You can’t think outside of the box if there is no box.

Constraints breed creativity. Narrowing your focus broadens your perspective because you’re able to see more clearly. Writing prompts, for example, are helpful because they box you in just enough to let you think outside the box. That’s when inspiration blossoms.

{today’s exercise}

Pick up the closest book and turn to page 20. The first full sentence on the page is your inspiration for today’s poem. Perhaps you integrate that sentence into your poem verbatim. Maybe one of the words sparks the inspiration. If you don’t like the sentence, write about the opposite or about your frustration! It matters less how you are inspired by the sentence and more that you choose to be inspired by some element of it.

{Mr. Wood’s process and his poem}

After all this talk, I could not catch a spark of inspiration to actually write my poem. Mr. Wood was nearby and he sat, looked at my quote, and practiced what I preached.

This is the quote that I found: “Yes, there must be deep, thorough, and long preparation if there is to be reality.”

His process, in his words:
“I saw that my friend was struggling to write, struggling to put words to inspiration, and I committed myself to finding a spark just as she’d directed — I’m not double-dipping since I am not doing these exercises every day, so I was comfortable submitting something for her to use.

The first line is a paraphrase of her words to me when I walked over, and the next three lines grew from that: They came naturally as both self-directed answer and a continuation of the opening question so the neat double-meaning of the words excited me. I then thought about what she had been like, and the word foundering came to my mind like a ship, so I drew a nautical simile and several others which I knew were close and dear to her heart: infants, heartbeats, letting go and pinning things down; I changed a few words so that the poem took the shape of a wave too! I liked how it naturally evoked calm as it settled from longer lines to shorter so I did very little in editing and left out a good deal of punctuation so that it would read smoothly and the reader was free to interpret things openly and wonder about the poem, especially the opening double-meaning.

I bridged the gaps to end with the quote-of-the-day, since there was a neat twist in meaning from this starscape of theoretical, inward-drawn space out to the declaration of reality. The quote is a lot like this process, creating, so I thought it served as a fine capstone.”

how am I to take an empty page
scatter my soul across it
dig into my heart
a garden of words
rip them up like mussels
clinging to a wave-worn rock
wrestle the infants together
inject them full of heartbeats
line them up so neatly
launch them up
in the face of experience
to grasp for me tomorrow
and sometimes to complete today
as I pin them like bugs
eternal as memory
on the wall
yes
there must be deep
thorough
long preparation if there is to be
reality