10 Places to Find Poetic Inspiration
The Poet's Struggle
Ever since I was younger, poetry has been the way I recorded my deep thoughts and sights witnessed in this strange and exciting world. However, there are moments where the desire to have in-depth words pour from the pen to paper are thwarted by lack of inspiration. Moments like these I scramble for a key to unlock the creativity of my mind. So here are ten "keys" I have compiled that can unlock your creativity and have you off to poetry bliss.
Since the inception of poetry, nature has been the constant muse for all the greats. Today, this inspirational entity can be deemed as dull and seemingly overused. If we go beyond the conventional idea of nature there is a lot a poet can write about. One would only have to look at nature in a different way.
Things to think about:
- What ever happens in nature will always affect you.
- It has been around a lot longer than any form of human civilization.
- It's system has been around since the beginning.
- You are apart of nature.
- Nature goes through cycles.
- There is no end, but change: the essance of life.
- It has been the only thing to single handedly upheave nations.
Looking at nature for inspiration is looking at what is, what has been, and what will be. It also brings a radical idea of change to one's mind in a world where the ever dramatic idea of "the end" lay heavily in the minds of people. There is a sure sense of wisdom to be sought in looking at something that connects multiple forms of life in a prosperous balance. So, imagine what words may come forth when applied to the poet's mind.
In this day and age we have access to countless stories of people from the past around the world. The fact that there are real stories about people who are no longer living and are from times that are completely different from now brings a different level of impact. Someone could be taken back in time simply through a piece written in the diction of a different era. So of course there are many fruits to be sought in looking to the past.
A few extremely fruitful areas to look through:
- Stories of great men
- Stories of evil men
- True love stories
- The poor
- The rich/nobility
- Myth and legend
- The comparison of then and now
Mind you, it is important to remember that history is being made every day, so one shouldn't have to look too far back to be captivated by actual events that have happened. History has, also, such a vast area to explore and become inspired by. Don't limit your self to only one characteristic that is a constant within. It is meant to inspire, be explored, and be learned from.
3. Different Cultures
One way to completely stimulate the poetic mind is to learn about different cultures and the wealth in diverse thought. There are such unique things to behold once you put yourself in the shoes of one who seems like they come from another world. This allows the poet to learn and be moved by a wealth of people who have lived a certain way with different traditions for many years.
Things to focus on:
- Different cultural philosophies
- What they wear
- Religious view
- What you agree with
- What you don't agree with
- What touches your heart
- The things you have learned
Exploration of different cultures is an experience that can go beyond singular poetic inspiration. It allows the mind to open and challenge new ideas that simply would not have come forth without the decision to adventure out. A mind-opening experience is exactly what can fuel a poet into overdrive.
4. Visual Art
When people put energy into making something with their hands it leaves a unique imprint in their work along side their message. The similar thing between a writer and an artist is that each bring the world of their imagining to life, except a visual artist does it in a more visual and physical way. So, as any medium of imagination and expression, it becomes something to interpret.
Things to keep in mind and questions to ask while interpreting:
- This is another world.
- The texture
- In this piece, what is?
- What emotion is it portraying?
- What is the story?
- What is the message?
- What stands out?
- Where are the mistakes/the human element?
- How Does this make me feel?
- How is this message relatable?
Visual Art, whether it's paintings or sculptures, is very personal. So where that personality is, there will always be depth to accompany it. Talent is always appreciated, but it is in the more profound human element that the truth lies: the fruit for a writer and poet. This is what is felt beyond words and beyond mere logical thought.
5. Movies & Theatre
The the remarkable thing about movies and theatre is that you have an army of people, lead by one with a vision, that contribute ideas to a vision based on a the material they are meant to draw inspiration from. This dynamic all fits to make something beautiful on the screen and on stage from the artistic elements of creating an actual window to another world, actors possessing emotional, human and non human elements that bring the world to life, straight to the director who makes sure all falls into place as it should. So much energy is put into each performance and is rich with diverse means of inspiration.
Things to think about and pay attention to:
- A character that sticks out to you and why
- The mindset of a certain character
- How the story portrays fate/destiny
- How the performance draws you in
- The main struggle portrayed in the film
- Impact of the setting
It is good to start with a performance that speaks to you. It offers you an insight into another world, a different possibility. It gives you the opportunity to witness something that may or may not happen to you and more so allow you to experience it through a character's eyes. There is also the ability to see the way the story is portrayed by the actors who bring that relatable and unrelatable element for you to ponder upon as a person and a poet.
Music is that form of powerful expression because of it's resonance of sound produced by instrument and vocals. The emotion expressed in the voice of the musician is felt by the listener on a deeper level and causes the listener to feel that emotion. Because of this unique way of making a person sympathize, we build attachments to certain songs that resonate with our personal views of life. On top of the instrumenal contribution, there is the poetic part of the music, the lyrics, that touches on actual points that a person can relate to. This is a whole other dimension of expression one could draw inspiration from.
Questions to ask yourself while listening to music for inspiration:
- Where does it take you?
- What emotions does it make you feel?
- What memories come forth?
- What does this song tell about the singer?
- Why do/don't you like this song so much?
- What is the story?
- What is the meaning behind the story?
- Where do you see this meaning in your own life?
- What images are brought forth?
Creativity is not always about something that you like, so it is important to experiment with different music styles and genres. Find songs that speak to you on different levels. What ever way it moves you, run with it passionately. Music itself is a very passionate form of expression and that passion can be very infectious to it's listener, let alone a writer.
When you are off at a park, an airport, or any place that a lot of people are about, taking a look at those people around you can harbor interesting conclusions. This act of "taking a step back" can show you more of the personal state people are in. It is when they think no one is looking that you see truth and sincerity in who they are. That is human nature, that we all are apart of, at work before your very eyes.
What to focus on:
- Small unique manurisms
- Clothing choice
- Small facial expressions that can be easily overlooked
- How a person acts around certain people
- The way they carry themselves
Talking To People
An even more personal way to peer into another's life is to converse with them. Just the act is something that is highly personal and it could be that bit of small talk or an in-depth conversation on the meaning of life. It gives the person you are talking to a chance to voice their personal ideals, thought process, and beliefs which gives you the opportunity to see their perspective and perception of the world. Not only do you glean their perspective from what they say, but also what they don't say, their body language, and the look in their eyes as they speak.
Things to listen to:
- Stories from the past
- The way they speak on certain topics
- The affliction in their voice
- Their accent
- What they don't say
Things to pay attention to:
- Their hand gestures
- Their body language
- Their expression
- Their eyes
Now there is a way to do this correctly. The goal is not to make people uncomfortable but to approach talking to them in a light, open, inquisitive way. People, being complex emotional beings, can sense intensity, so a calm demeanor is the way to go to gain such inspiration from such raw human nature. Having tact, common courtesy, respect, and being open can go a long way.
8. Relics Of Your Past
When seeking inspiration, one should always be open to self reflection. On a more concentrated level, the things from our past that mark key moments in our lives deserve time to properly explore. The things that transport us to a completely different time, all with a touch or a smell, are the most powerful, emotionally provoking.
To trigger nostalgia:
- Look through the things you have stored in your closet
- Smell them
- Focus on how they feel in your hand
- Read an old book you haven't read for a long while
- Bring items to friends and family and talk about the past
- Put yourself in the strongest moment your remember from your past to try and feel it all again
This is not for the faint of heart. Old memories good and bad can spring up from the fringes of your mind. Often times they can come crashing upon you like waves to make you remember times you thought were long forgotten. This is bread and butter for any writer/poet.
Something that I have done recently is write poems inspired by people's Instagram accounts. This is very interesting because of the visual stimulation and the fact that each account is unique.There are countless accounts for different things, which makes for fruitful diversity.
What to do:
- Start with your favorite account.
- Scroll through the pictures in grid format or individually through each picture.
- Look for key characteristics that really stick out in all the pictures.
- When putting it all together, try not to make the poem so obvious that it was inspired by a picture.
This is a more subtle way for you to glimpse into people's lives. You are also visually walking through their world, exploring what they perceive and see. There are also accounts that feature art, inspirational quotes, poetry, DIY videos, and what ever people have a mind to take pictures and videos of. So, there is always something for somebody to become inspired by.
10. Other Poets
Finally, the most classic form of seeking inspiration is to read poems written by other poets. Whatever your fancy, from the instagram poets to the works of Shakespeare, reading poetry gets you in the mindset of poetry. You also get exposure to different styles to try out or make all your own.
A few of my personal favorite poems and poets:
- Geoffrey Chaucer- "Ballad of Good Advice"
- Shakespeare- "Sonnet 18"
- Edgar Allen Poe- "The Raven" and "Dream Within a Dream"
This helps you go to the root of who inspired you to write poetry in the first place. From then you can retrace your steps and remember what you have learned since the beginning. Doing this jolts you out of that blocked state of stagnancy that you can't abide. Also, taking a look at a wide range of poetry, from modern, to classics can broaden your understanding of how this form of expression has changed over time.
Seek to Explore and Challenge Yourself
Inspiration is an imprint, an additional light to the wonders you have locked away in your mind, that only come about to grace the page. They stick with you in a profound way because they hit something inside you, capturing your thoughts and emotions. Remember, also, that there are no rules to getting inspired, just suggestions and little tips here and there. It really boils down to the individual and what moves them, what speaks to them the most, and what provokes that voice from within to speak in profound verse. Have fun with the search because you are paving the way for reflective inspiration in the future.
Questions & Answers
© 2016 Mary Spotted Eagle Woman Roberts