Where to Write?


Inhale, exhale. Go outdoors; gather your perceptions; experience life. And as you do, memorise those sights, sounds, tastes and textures. If you are not favoured with a good memory take a pen to jot down notes. This is the diverging phase of perception in the lifecycle of a new poem: the opening up to thoughts and feelings. Here will come those ideas from the subconscious, freed by the music of nature. Wet ink drying in a spring breeze. Here too, a first line or a title may occur to you. You may perceive a synchronicity or startle at a juxtaposition of ideas. Whatever your commitments in life, whether work, children, friends or family, steal moments to gather these ideas. Find the thought-free places: during a walk through a forest; on a train staring out of the window; anywhere where there is no pressing distraction.

It’s an inexpensive pastime. A mountaineer needs a mountain; a poet only needs a pen. Although the memory of a mountain can help.


Exhale, inhale. Come indoors to a place of tranquillity, whether a café or your place of abode. This is where you will gather together the threads. Look for patterns and forms. Experiment with forms, sounds, and rhythms. Here you will do the work of synthesising your notes to converge, oh so slowly, towards the first draft of some utterance or even a poem. You’ll begin the process of editing. I find that cafés work well for me, but others have a special place where they do their best work. Explore what works best for you. Enjoy this exploration, for why else are you doing this?

In a future blog, I’ll cover more about the process of poetry.

© Copyright Clifford Liles, May 2019

Mountain Image

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