Reinvigorating my process or Year of Poetry 2.0

In 2016, in an attempt to up-skill myself with regard to poetry, I embarked on an intensive, self designed and self paced, Year of Poetry programme.

I didn't at the time have the funds to attempt a Masters* and short courses and other pathways of learning seemed sparse and inaccessible.

You can read about the program at length here.

Briefly though, the final statistics looked something like this:

Total project time: 457:08 hrs

Consisting of :

  • Writing poems 214:48 hrs
  • Close reading/ Analysis  = 87:15 hrs
  • Study of technique and theory =105:13 hrs
  • Weekly and monthly journal reflection = 40:04 hrs

I wrote 42 completed poems, had 21 poems in draft, submitted 27 poems, had 9 poems published, completed 2 live performances, had 1 interview and received 16 rejections.

It was a big success both in terms of the stated goals-

I want to exceed publication credits for this year (2015) so that's 4 + published poems.  I want to write at least 12 poems of publishable quality.  I want to increase my own poetic understanding through reading technical material and through reading of other's good poetry.

which I had hit by mid year and that the majority of these poems formed the backbone of my debut collection.

So as part of the Bloggers Revival Tour I wanted to revisit the program, revise some of the aspects that could use tweaking, adapt it to my much more demanding lifestyle (full time teacher librarian versus part time substitute teacher) and share with readers some of the nuts and bolts of what I did.

Going back over my posting from 2016 I didn't write down my process in any great detail.  So that's what I intend to do in the first few posts of this tour; give an overview of the programme and then expand on its major elements using examples.

The Overview

The Process™ consists of 4 elements: Writing Poetry, Studying Poetic Technique and Theory, Close Reading & Analysis and Reflection.

Although I break these down into discreet elements the most important, the one that should receive the lion's share of your attention, is the writing of poetry. I would suggest weighting your effort in that direction if time becomes tight.

The other elements are important,  they provide a fertile mix for the writing to develop from. The structure, though is there as a frame, not a box or a rule you can't deviate from.  Always have in the back of your mind that you are here to write poems.

Beware the tendency to hide from the writing in the other elements but also beware the tendency to keep hammering away at the poem that isn't working.  I found working on the other elements often helped my subconscious to figure out what was wrong with the poem I had spent too much time on.

Below is the break down of the time spent on each element in 2016. I think this worked well, 50% Writing and Revision, 40 % Study and Close Reading, 10 % Reflection.

Where do you start?

It doesn't really matter.  I began with Close Reading and Analysis because that offered the quickest way for me to get started and to feel that I was getting somewhere.

I think that half the issue with any kind of writing is getting to the table/desk/porch to write.  If you are following a plan it's easier (for me at least).  Reading someone's work closely and unraveling it brings on an almost meditative state.  So that's what my next post will be about.

*  I am not convinced that in terms of poetry or other career prospects, that's even a worthwhile path/ outlay of funds.

In Magpie Tales Australian poet SB Wright reveals a keen eye for capturing both people and places, his deft imagery transports the reader effortlessly from rural Australia and beyond. The pieces within explore a changing inner landscape too, where the contested terrain of small town identities and national issues are played out in clear, lyrical verse.
Magpie Tales is his first poetry collection.

Available in print: Amazon Aus, US / Book Depository / Booktopia / Bookworld / Barnes & Noble / Fishpond

Signed Copies: On request


  1. Fascinating, er, disciplined. And not unlike the program I attended (though I wrote more critical analysis than I ever thought I could--it made up a great deal of the MFA program I attended). However, an autodidact myself, I really enjoyed this peek at someone else's approach to the work of writing poems.

    I do think I write less when I am reading less poetry. Poetry begets poems, in my case.

    1. Thanks Ann. It was disciplined. I wish I could find that discipline again :D. I am curious about MFA programs, I was essentially trying to complete a DIY version with this. I am glad you enjoyed the peek. Hopefully you might get something from the in depth posts I plan to write (or maybe you can even offer suggestions for improvement). I agree also that poetry can beget poems.

    2. Thanks, Sean, for posting your approach and methodology. I am considering adopting it for my own purposes this year while also including the element of performing my poetry more often. I really appreciate the detail that you've documented on your blog, it's such a brilliant resource. I'll be sure to share it on the FB. I've yet to buy your book, but will do so as part of my close reading and analysis! Cheers. C

    3. Thanks for your comments Caroline. Its important that you find what works for you. For instance i am having a real issue trying to keep to the same format this year. I think as long as you have the elements and you keep touching on each of them as you go (writing gets priority) there;s a benefit. I am honored that you would both buy the book and subject it to scrutiny.


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