For many years, I taught for New York State Poets in Public Service. I taught in classrooms, children of all ages and, independently and alongside a music specialist, conducted workshops for educators, teachers, and administrators. The most difficulty, students of all ages had, was in finding inspiration for their poem.
“I don’t know what to write about,” was the most frequent distress call I got. Inspiration, I insisted, was everywhere. Inspiration was to be found wherever you allowed your mind to wander and, if you were tuned in to the world around you, it would come at you from all directions. Inspiration was just waiting for you to recognize it. To be a poet, you must be open to everything, from nature to the news, from love and joy to loss and sorrow. Inspiration is really just you tuning in to the world around you.
But, if you truly can’t find the inspiration you’re looking for, I suggest you start with a simple exercise. Choose a color, any color, and then using your five senses and your emotional reaction to the color, write a poem.
Blue is the sound of the ocean
thrashing the shore the beauty
of skies empty of clouds the scent
of flowers on the wind the taste of blueberries
warm from the sun the feel of
mama’s velvet dress against my skin blue
is the color that paints my dreams that tames
my fear that in the darkest night reminds me
of dawn and leads me
to the light. – Susan A. Katz (All rights reserved)
The way to find inspiration is to allow yourself to feel, to be and, to immerse yourself in an experience, a thought, an event, forcing you to feel the need to put into words, feelings too big, too loud, too important to be held inside.
Choose a color, and write on…