Poetry comes to me in different ways. I never usually sit down and tell myself, “Okay, time to write some poetry.” My poems usually come to me while I’m writing in my journal. I’ll be writing away about mundane, everyday-life things and a poem will just come out in the process. Sometimes, as I’m writing my stream of consciousness, rambling writing, there will be a sentence or two, or even a few phrases, that I’ll take and use to create a poem.
Many of my poems are about tiny moments. It’s something that just struck me as interesting so I wrote about the moment in as much detail as I possibly could, and then I massaged the words into a poem. These are things like fog swirling over the Mississippi River on a February morning driving over the crest of a hill toward the water, the sheet of water from a sprinkler cascading over a green electrical box, or abandoned toys and roller skates in suburban yards on an early Sunday evening. I just notice them and write about them.
Some of my poems are seemingly random words that pop into my head. I just listen to the words flying through my mind and write them down. Many times I don’t even know what the poem is about or, sometimes, that it will even be a poem. There have been several occasions where I’ll re-read a set of lines I thought I just wrote randomly and think, “Hey, that’s about…” I wrote a poem I titled “Apology” this way.
My poems are mostly free verse. I don’t follow any particular forms. Some of them rhyme and some of them don’t; some of them partially rhyme and some don’t rhyme at all. If a rhyming part comes to me, I include it but I don’t force rhymes onto my poems. Most of my poetry is easy to understand and accessible, especially those in my book, Crush and Other Love Poems for Girls. There are a few more abstract poems in my collection by 918Studio, The Other Side of Crazy, but even they are not terribly abstract.
As far as revising my poems, it’s a matter of paring down. I cut any unnecessary or redundant words and tighten things up. I will count lines and syllables to see how close they are from stanza to stanza; if they are close, I’ll revise to make them match as much as possible because I like symmetry. But, if they’re too far apart, I just leave it as a free-wheeling, asymmetrical poem. Finally, I read them out loud to see how they sound to my ear and feel their rhythms.