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How to Write a Poem from a Graveyard - Markings 119

Voices From the Graveyard

Another place you might visit to find inspiration for a poem is an old graveyard.

One of the peculiar aspects of these places is the possibility that you will experience different emotions and hear perhaps a variety of different ‘voices'.

In the time taken travelling and arriving at the graveyard these things may have already been occurring.

What particular emotions, ideas or thoughts does this place evoke in you?

What ‘voices’ do you hear or are you aware of since coming here?

What ‘things’ have you brought with you to this place in the way of past or present experience that are perhaps given a new focus or emphasis today?

What future happenings or expectations, dreads, fears or solutions, freedoms etc. does this place today suddenly give you a new clarity or sense about?

What memories are evoked today by the graves, the surrounding city or pastoral setting?

Before you even begin to think about a piece of writing it is important that you give some time to serious reflection about these questions.

A Workshop

Some Writing Steps You May Find Useful

1. Sit quietly and spend some time reflecting on these questions and any other ideas, thoughts, ideas, voices etc. that may be on your mind.

2. Write them all down without any thought at the moment about where you might be heading with a specific piece of writing or a writing focus.

3. Now choose at least two ideas from your notes, jottings and reflections.

4. Give each some more thought and come up with a working title for each.

5. Now choose one only and put the other away with the rest of your notes for a later time.

6. Brainstorm your idea with words, phrases, colours, images, memories, etc.

7. Now you are ready to begin a piece of writing.

A warning: nostalgia and sentimentality are your arch enemies here and can totally ruin what could be some very powerful writing. Do not give in to maudlin at any cost.

©Jeff Guess 2019


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