The Writer's Cookbook

Writing, productivity, publishing.

Category: Poetry

7 Tips to Improve Your Public Speaking

Public speaking has long been an important part of getting your writing out there. Charles Dickens spent years touring and performing his work. Public speaking doesn’t come easily to everyone, though. Some of us enjoy it, whilst others are petrified at the mere idea of it.

I have to admit, I love public speaking. I get a huge adrenaline rush from it. It still petrifies me though, especially if I’m reading my own work. I don’t like the idea of all those people staring at me, nor do I like the sound of my own voice (despite having done radio), but I love talking and expressing myself. That’s what public speaking is all about for me: it’s another art form and way to get myself heard.

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VIDEO: Restless Minds at Dagda Publishing’s Speak Your Mind #2

Restless Minds anthology logo

Restless Minds is an anthology my classmates and I put together as part of our MA in Creative Writing. We launched on 9th October 2014, and sold out of our first print run on opening night. We’re not selling our second print run and performing/selling at local events.

A few weeks’ ago now some of us performed at Dagda Publishing’s Speak Your Mind #2. We recorded some of our performances, and the YouTube playlist for them is below. It includes me reading some of my poetry/fiction; Lauren C. Terry reading her poems ‘Priority’, ‘Marina’ and ‘Brick by Brick’ (inspired by The Yellow Wallpaper); Clare Stevens reading ‘The Last Taboo’ and Kristian Elliott reading from ‘The Enigma of Thornwood’.

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VIDEO: Restless Minds at Jazz & Poetry

Restless Minds anthology logo

Restless Minds is an anthology my classmates and I put together as part of our MA in Creative Writing. We launched on 9th October 2014, and sold out of our first print run on opening night. We’re not selling our second print run and performing/selling at local events.

To promote and sell copies, myself and a couple of other poets performed at local event Jazz & Poetry in November. It’s a monthly event with an open mic, hosted at Guitar Bar/Hotel Deux. We took over the open mic slot. I read out ‘Portrait of my Nan as an Armchair’, which is featured in Restless Minds, as well as two of my other poems: ‘Hypoglycaemia’ and ‘Domestic Bliss’. The videos also feature Mark Done and Lauren C. Terry reading their pieces from Restless Minds as well as a couple of their other awesome poems.

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Every Poetic Form You’ll Ever Need

There are so many different forms of poetry that it’s hard to keep up. This is by no means a complete list of poetic forms — there are always going to be some that get missed — but I have tried to include as many as I could, and will update it as necessary.

This isn’t an in-depth list. You can click on the links under each for more detailed explanations and examples. I find the best way to learn about a new form is to read as much about it as possible, then attempt to write one as close to the rules as possible. What works for you may be different.

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The Reason Poetry is Being Taught All Wrong

I have asked so many people why they hate poetry, and it’s because they see it as something ethereal, something impossible to understand. They were forced to study highbrow poetry at school, and never introduced to younger (still alive) poets that write in plain English about modern times. If it were up to me, everyone would know Philip Larkin’s ‘This Be the Verse’ off by heart before they leave school. I don’t know anyone that couldn’t relate to it. Poetry is being taught all wrong in a way that is completely inaccessible to those that are forced to study it, and unless we change that, generations are going to fall out of love with the beauty of language.

Everyone enjoys different types of music and films, and reading is no different. What appeals to one person may not appeal to another, and what appeals to the masses may have no literary merit.

Children are forced to read at school, and because they’re forced to read, their act of rebellion — unless they enjoy school and/or English — is not to read.

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7 Ingredients You Need to Consider When Writing Poetry

I love writing poetry. It’s a really great emotional outlet, even when I can’t articulate how I’m feeling.

There are certain ingredients that are important when writing a poem, but poetry is one of those awkward little things where, just because something works for one poem, it doesn’t mean it’ll work for another.

There are so many types of poetry; you can do much more with the look, content and language of poetry than any other type of writing.

Poetry offers an unbelievable amount of creative freedom, but people often run away from it. Poetry needn’t be something to be scared of: with the right tools and the right direction, anyone can find a type of poetry for them.

This list contains some ingredients you can use in your poems to get you started.

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