Recently, I've been asked to produce a few tips on 'How To Write Poetry'.
That's another social role for a Poet Laureate: spreading the word about poetry as widely as possible. It's rather like being an ambassador (though without the posh dinners, perhaps fortunately for my waistline) where what I say reflects on poetry as a whole. So I always try to give the same good advice I was given as a beginner.
1. Be yourself.
2. Keep things simple.
3. Rewrite everything.
4. Speak your poem aloud as you write.
5. Make sure the line-breaks fall where you either pause naturally or for emphasis.
6. Only write about things that really matter to you.
Over the next month or maybe longer, I'll be trying a series of online workshop exercises at my other blog, Raw Light, chiefly aimed at those with some experience of writing poetry but who are perhaps still unpublished in book form.
If you'd like to try your hand at a poetry exercise or two over there, I'd be happy to discuss the results with you.
Don't forget, you can still send poems to me here or leave them in the Comment box below, for possible future publication on this blog.