Posts Tagged ‘Poseidon’s Scibe’

I taught poetry residencies for the Maryland State Arts Council’s Artists-in-Education Program for over ten years to students from kindergarten through grade twelve. It was a wonderful, but exhausting, experience. The first thing I wrote on the board when I walked into the classroom was: “”Poetry excites the senses!” And then, I’d write my name.

Because of the limited number of words a poet has to express their ideas, they must choose wisely. In my opinion, the wisest way to express yourself and grab a reader is to use sensory language. I used to had out a list of sensory words for all five senses, then I’d have the students read aloud the smell and/or taste words. I still hand out that list to prose and poetry writing workshops I teach – whether young writers, college level courses, or adults.

Why? Because a writer needs to be observant. He or she needs to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch the world around them, and use that information to enrich their writing. Readers can more easily become immersed in your world when they can identify with the sensory experiences your characters are having.

Again, I’m going to link to writing friend Steven R. Southard’s blog, Poseidon’s Scribe where he discusses another way for writers to think like Leonardo da Vinci: Sensazione.

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Hands-on learning is far more important than hearing someone else’s experiences.

Just like it’s easier to learn to knit with yarn and knitting needles in-hand than reading about the process or even watching a video; it’s easier to find your most productive writing process through trial and error.

Steven R. Southard has the second in his How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci series up on his blog, Poseidon’s Scribe. It’s an interesting take on da Vinci’s thinking and how to apply it to writing.

I recommend taking a look at this post which encourages writers to not trust Wikipedia and other peoples’ experiences, but to try things out for themselves. Or as Southard puts it: “test knowledge through experience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from mistakes.” Here’s the link to the article for your reading pleasure.

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