Rosemary Griebel, Design Lead for Readers’ Services at the Calgary Public Library, started writing poetry as soon as she could start forming letters on a page. She started practising poetry more seriously 15 years ago, when she took a course with Richard Harrison, a Calgary poet and professor. Harrison won this year’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry.
Rosemary’s favourite kinds of poetry are music, spoken word, and form poetry. However, she most often reads lyrical and free verse. Rosemary has advice for aspiring poets: “Read, read more, and keep on reading!”
“I really believe that if you don’t have a passion for reading you won’t have the right passion for writing,” she said.
One of her poetry mentors, Patrick Lane, said it is important to learn from the masters, and the only way you can learn from the masters is by reading them.
If you’re an aspiring poet, follow Rosemary’s top five tips to start writing:
In the Inuit language Inuktitut, the words “to breathe” and “to make a poem” are the same. Rosemary thinks of this often as it provides her the freedom to just sit down and write and see what appears, without worrying about meaning or listening to her inner critic. You must start somewhere, and it starts with that first word or sentence. Welcome what comes. The poems choosing you are the ones that need to be written.
Commit to a regular time to write
For Rosemary, it is early morning when her mind is clear and the world is quiet. But for many, it is late at night when the rest of the house is sleeping.
Take inspiration from the world around you
Sometimes we forget that what is most miraculous is the ordinary. What poetry does best, is to make us see the familiar with awe.
Be proud of your voice
Always remember that what you write only you can write. Use of language and experiences are unique, so be proud of your authentic voice and experience. Find your method and voice, and then sing loud.
Be patient and don’t be afraid of failure. It takes a lifetime to learn a craft and failure is part of the journey.
Also check out Rosemary’s book of poems.
Rosemary's Book Recommendations For Writing Poetry