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Valentine’s Day: Poetry 101

John Sands Admin   |    Tips and Hints

As Valentine’s Day approaches you might have gifts prepared, date nights planned or weekend getaways meticulously organised. Or, you might be saving yourself for a last minute dash down the seasonal aisle at Woolworths. You might even have decided that Valentine’s Day is completely redundant, we don’t need a day to celebrate love and that love is in fact, all around us, in every moment.

However you feel about Valentine’s Day, writing a few words dedicated to your loved one, friends or family can be a wonderful way to acknowledge all of the wonderful moments you’ve enjoyed together and let them know just how much you care.

But where do you start? I hear you. ‘Poetry’ can be a daunting word and you’ll be excused if your first thoughts dart to ‘roses are red, violets are blue’, the fifteen verses of descriptive prose you were made to write about in school, or the super sentimental (but best-selling) rhyming verse in our dear Gibson large cards.

The truth is, modern poetry can be simple, funny and playful. It can be concise. As intense or as subtle as you’d like. Wildly descriptive or straight forward and down the line. Most of all it can be a fantastic way to express yourself in a way that is personal to both you and your nearest and dearest. In some poems, sure – there are rules. A rhyme or two never hurt anyone, if you feel like it.

My personal view, though, is that poetry – particularly free verse – can be free flowing, take up as much or as little space as you feel; use as many words as you like. Poems don’t need punctuation or capital letters. They don’t actually have to make any sense at all – except perhaps to the person reading it!

If you fancy having a go at writing a few words to the apple of your eye, here are a few tips to find those special words, for that special person:

Keep it simple
Poetry doesn’t have to be complicated. Poems don’t have to be pages long or use obscure language. Sometimes the things we’re most grateful for about each other are the most simple. Start by making a list of everything you love about your special someone and why, you’ll surprise yourself at how freely this flows!

Be yourself
Use language you’re comfortable with. Write it out in a way that you could imagine yourself reading it, if you had to (or choose to!). Much like in life, things feel a little more authentic and real if you do you.

Get out of your head
We spend so much time over thinking that we often build silly stories in our head and put too much pressure on ourselves to do what we think we should, when we think we should. Creativity can’t breathe here! Take a walk in nature, do some exercise, yoga, meditation, run, jump, dance around your house. Moving your body may take your focus away from your ‘logic’ brain just long enough to let creativity flow!

Keep it old school
Grab a pen and paper. Notes sections in phones are amazing for creative emergencies but more often than not we’re distracted by social media, music, to do lists. If anything this is a wonderful to disconnect from technology for a little while.

Remember when you were a kid and you used to just play just because it was fun? Writing words and moving them around the page in different ways is not the most serious thing in the world, really. Do something you absolutely love with a pen and paper nearby. Creativity is essentially expressing yourself through play!

Get inspired
Choose something or someone that inspires you and take a little time to connect with this. It could be a podcast, TED talk, another poet, artist or even one of your friends or family. Bonus points if the subject inspires you the most – spend time with them!

Most importantly of all:

You can’t get it wrong
Just write. Think about the person you’re writing for and write some more. The words will come. We all know that heartfelt words mean the most – and you’ll be one mega popular human on Valentine’s Day!

Good luck and enjoy!