the power of a word

Words: the only thing a writer really needs.

It’s easy to allow all kinds of things to hold you back from writing. You may think you don’t have the right tools (“…but I always write in that one notebook that I left at home…”), or enough inspiration (”…who’d want to read about my boring life?"), or sufficient education (“…I don’t have an interesting vocabulary…”). But the truth is, you have everything you need to write poetry if you have words.

The power of a single word.

Words are the building blocks of poetry. As lovers of words, it’s easy for poets to get caught up in finding the best words and become distracted from the beauty of simplicity. One of the best things about poetry is its precision; a short poem may be packed with expression. Even a single word has the power to evoke deep emotion and vivid memories.

Don’t let circumstances or surroundings hold you back.

Look for inspiration in the smallest thing and begin building poetry. Once you’ve begun to string words together, you can edit and refine them. Take it one step at a time and don’t let anything keep you from beginning.

{today’s exercise}

Build a poem beginning with a single word. Choose a number between one and twenty-four, then visit the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows and use the word in the video that corresponds to your number as inspiration.

{my process and my poem}

My random number was seven, so my word is from the seventh video on the page — Koinophobia: The Fear that You've Lived an Ordinary Life. I did some free writing and strayed a bit from the actual definition, though it still carries the themes of ordinary life and fear. I could have written a long poem, or a whole series of poems, but it seemed fitting it keep it short today.

Ordinary life doesn’t fit me too well,
like a sweater I’ll never grow into.
Still, I’m scared to take it off…
What if extraordinary life
fits worse than the ordinary type?