My Daily Poetry Routine

My Daily Poetry Routine

A Chapter by William Liston

describes what I do every morning


When I research ways to become more skilled at poetry, one piece of advice always pops up: You must read poetry. Although I've only been writing for two years, I can confidently say the aforementioned advice is a virtual fact. Reading poetry can help you discover endless styles and methods of expression, both of which can help improve your skill.

To improve my poetic ability, I started a routine about a month ago: Every morning, about 20 minutes after I wake up, I'll read a poem and write an analysis about whatever aspect(s) in the poem that I find worthy of elaboration. I usually read the poem and decide on what I want to analyze the night before. 

Here's an example of one:

9-14-16: "On Turning Ten" by Billy Collins

Analyze the following: imagery in the second stanza, contrast in third stanza, last stanza

  • The imagery in stanza two reflects the speaker's past -- how years ago, he had a child-like imagination that made life adventurous and wonderful. This stanza contrasts with the speaker's negative thoughts towards turning ten.

  • The contrast between stanzas two and three gives the poem a serious tone. While stanza two reflects the beauty of a child's imagination, stanza three reflects the speaker's current struggle: turning ten. 

  • The last stanza adds closure to the poem because it combines the speaker's past childhood with the reality of turning ten. To do this, Collins writes, "But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life / I skin my knees. I bleed."

The analysis can be written however you'd like. You can discuss why you enjoyed the poem, what kept you from enjoying it, how the poem could've been improved, how the poem's topic relates to your life ... whatever helps you best.

Here are some good poems to analyze:


"Sympathy" by Paul Laurence Dunbar

"Tonight" by Sarah Teasdale

"Boy At the Window" by Richard Wilbur

"A Minor Bird" by Robert Frost


"Embrace" by Billy Collins

"The Negro Speaks of Rivers" by Langston Hughes

"Flying at Night" by Ted Kooser

"Your Laugh" by Pablo Neruda

© 2017 William Liston

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Added on September 19, 2016
Last Updated on July 28, 2017
Tags: routine, poetry, reading


William Liston
William Liston

Get your own valid XHTML YouTube embed code I'm an amateur poet who's been writing for about three and a half years. Some of my influences include Edgar Alla.. more..


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