Improve Your Writing: Using Imagery to Create Immersive Poetry | Daren Colbert | Skillshare

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Improve Your Writing: Using Imagery to Create Immersive Poetry

teacher avatar Daren Colbert, Writer & Filmmaker

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Imagery in Poetry 101

    • 2. What is Free Verse?

    • 3. Concrete Details

    • 4. Similes & Metaphors

    • 5. Finding Inspiration

    • 6. Putting It All Together

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About This Class

In this class, I’ll be discussing how to use imagery in order to create more immersive poetry. By the end of the class, you’ll learn:

  • The structure of a free verse poem
  • How to define/the importance of concrete details
  • How to use similes and metaphors

All of these tools will be applied during the class project, where you will:

  • Write one free verse poem
  • Combine all the skills you've learned in class
  • Use at least 2 of the 5 senses 

Once completed, you will post your poem as a PDF file in the project gallery and comment feedback on at least two other classmates. 

The class is open to all levels of understanding – from those who are just starting, to those who have some knowledge about poetry. All you need is a word processing software such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Daren Colbert

Writer & Filmmaker


Hey everyone, I'm Daren. I'm a writer and filmmaker living in Missouri. 

I received my BA in English from Missouri State University, with an emphasis in poetry. 

I've also been posting poems on Instagram for about 4 years now. If you want to check it out, just click here. You can find my published work in CONKER Magazine and Unvael Journal. 

I'm excited to make some content for you guys, and I hope you are, too. 

See full profile

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1. Imagery in Poetry 101: You know, I don't let me start again. You know, I always hate when teachers. Is that right? Uh, this is okay. Here we go. We could do this. Okay? It's just an interesting problem. Okay. You know, I always hate everything. Okay. You know, we're always hated when teacher was spend, like, the 1st 10 minutes talking about how their weekend winner, that club Dan so called. So called. Okay, here we go. Here we go. This the one this you know, I always hated when teachers spend, like, the first time in its talking in class about how the week and win are the conference ain't and Reykjavik with cancel class for, like, I get your a person and you want to be relatable. I mean, we all do, but that's not what I'm paying for. I came here to learn what's written down. I mean, while Sue's the paper, the world's already burning as we speak, and there's no point we're gonna go any fastest. Was just like, I'm sorry. I'm rambling. I tend to do that one. I'm nervous. I probably get that from my dad. But that's all the story, um, any way. Welcome to my clacks. My name's Dan, by the way. Okay. Sure. Wonder you cared enough anyway, I poems and posted on instagram upload short films. You too. I've been publishing a couple of journalism magazines, but I talking about you know, it just makes me feel so pop, which I'm not. I'm really I'm just your average smoke Writes a few words every now. I'm good. Most Not so much. Just necessarily making most qualified to teach a class for my opinion on anything for that matter. Here we are. I mean, I talked about brother about it, and he gave me some decent advice, but Okay, we need to move on. Is this starting? If you way too much. All right, so now it's time to go over. What, you guys gonna be learning class? I just get kinda 100 neck and nervous. It's Don't worry about it. We'll get through this. We're running out of work in the game. Conquer, move. I think I could park it, right? Yeah, he You know what's around you, You know, what are the odds? Really? We're this close to the finish line and then, you know, I am falling flat. She this exactly what I was talking about earlier. I am in no way qualified it all to tell you is that, uh, yeah, got it. Uh, all right. Okay. Here we go. So for the final project, you're all gonna write one free verse poem using everything learned. So it's concrete details, similes, metaphors and five senses. Speaking on the five. Make sure you use at least two of the five senses in your poem once you've written a poem and don't feel like ripping it to shreds. Applauded as a pdf file in the project gallery. The last thing you're going to do with common feedback on at least two other classes which , like looking to improve. Now, I know talking to people can be hard, but no. Maybe you make a new friend or at least get some validation, which is always a nice thing. Yes. Huh, That's it. This is good. Waas. You know, I thought it was gonna take a turn in the middle. Right? They're not gonna lie, But all things considered, that went well. Okay, Um I guess I'll see you guys in the next lesson. 2. What is Free Verse?: again, uh, welcome to lessen, too, which means I'm really teaching the class more or less. Anyway, today we're gonna be going over free verse. So you may be asking yourself, you know what? It's reversed. What makes it so? And to be honest, the answer pretty underwhelming. But I tell you so, basically three versus his poetry that doesn't rhyme or have a regular meeting, meeting being the rhythm or beat of palm, if you will. That being said, we're gonna look at a poem that deals with fever. It's actually the one we're gonna be dissecting for the rest of the courts. It's called Morningside Heights July and it's by winning Matthews. It's a really good Paul, probably one of my favorites, To be honest, I mean, the guy's dead, but it's still a really good poem I didn't have to tell you is dead. Okay, let's Let's start the voiceover. Hey, what's up, guys? Welcome to voice over. So like I mentioned today, we're gonna be going over his poem by William Matthews and just exploring how it plaster fevers. So what I'll probably do is read through it, and then after that, just talk a little bit more about it, all right. One Excite Heights, July But William at these hes three student Viola, sporting a bus clatter of jackhammers, granular like a film of sweat for primer and the heat. A man and a woman on the bench. She tells him, You must be psychic where I was Kitty Sense even before she knew, but she need to call it off. Bicycle soon by with coaches also clamped hard between his teeth. Schilling like a tea kettle on the boil. I never meant, she says, but I thought Your lives. Two cabs almost collide. Someone yells. Fucking Farsi! I'm sorry, she says. The conference of loneliness falling like a bad platoon. Sky blurs. There's a storm coming up or down a land. Cats links liquid Lee around the corner. How familiar it feels to feel strange. Ha! Lower than assumed a religion layer in these Carline. Hey, okay, So like I mentioned thing about reverses, there's really no rules to it. Kind of write what you feel and break where you want. So again, like I mentioned, there's no rhyme on any of these words. So, for instance, boardings online with primer clam doesn't rhyme with TK does so on so forth. So aside from that, there's no meter to it, no rhythm, such as I am but pentameter or anything of that nature. That's about it. So I know this was a quick one, but hopefully I gave you a little more insight into what reverses and what you'll be doing for your own home that you'd be submitting by the end of the course. And you, Thanks for listening. See you guys later. That's it. That had went a lot quicker than I thought it would guess it's time to go home. 3. Concrete Details: You know, I made a promise to myself that it wasn't gonna ramble in this one. So with that being said in straight to the point So concrete details, what are they? How do I use them? What's with the name in the first place? Now they're all great questions. Basically a concrete details you something tangible, Something you can hold on to really sink your teeth. And a lot of the times, it's a century detail. You could see it. Smell it Here. It tasted it touches. Now I know what you might be saying. All right, then. Enough talk. Let me see it in action to that, I say. Ok, I get it. You're tired, You hear me? Hey, this all you had to say, We're going to works over right now. Is that cool? I'm happy we're going to voice over right now. Like now. Like, right now. Like and voice over. All right. Welcome back, guy. So in this lesson, we're gonna be going over concrete details. So what I'll probably do is just highlight a few examples that deal with some of the senses and then explain how they helped elevate the imagery of the poem and really provide an immersive experience. All right, so here we go. The 1st 1 I want to start out with is granular light. It's a good one, all right, The next one, probably coach's whistle, clamped hard between his teeth. After that, Teoh cabs almost collide. It's another solid concrete detail, even someone yelling, and then a link cat slinks on. We'll finish it off with a car alarm. Very pleasant way to end this. So what I like about Grandmother Light is that it immediately gives the reader a sense of whether adus faras the way that the light looks in that location. You can already see the kind of powder your like, dusty feeling of it. All right, so then next, with the coach's whistle clamped hard between his teeth, not only can you see that image really well, what's nice about that is that you can almost feel it between your own teas. That feeling of that whistle is clenched right between your teeth, which really hopes again place the reader in that very moment, and then the next one to gaps almost collide. I'm sure the majority of us have had our close encounters with car accidents so we can automatically place ourselves into that situation. Those feelings of our own memories mix with the image of two cars almost colliding only cars but cabs, which helps again the cows Being yellow gives another really great sense of place. And then even someone yelling fucking Farsi again, you could hear that audibly. You know what that's like? This far is when people are angry, that kind of loud, really terse. All right, so now late cats links. What I like about this is that not only is it a cab, but you can really gauge the size of it, how its slender and then it's gate So it's not running are pouncing on anything. It's more of a lazy box almost hired, which really plays into this heat of July and Morningside Heights of New York, you know, with the concrete and everything that summer, and then finish it off with a car alarm. What's great about that is it's such a specific sound that again the majority of us have heard what the car alarm sounds like. I mean, even if we accidentally hit the panic button, but we know what that sounds like so again that plays into not only our memory, which in turn really places us there into that location as far as being the reader of this poem. So hopefully this helps you out. And you can take these tips and apply them to your own writing, especially with the poem that you're going to be writing for the end of this course. Give you a better sense of how you can incorporate the five senses to create a more immersive experience and really elevate the images in your poem. All right, Another one in the back. Cool. I hope you guys learned something. Thanks for coming back, by the way. Not gonna lie. I'm still a bit surprised sometimes. Okay, then I guess I'll see you guys in the next lesson. 4. Similes & Metaphors: you know, I think it's trying to get the hang of this whole teaching. They I really am. I feel pretty good, too, from being honest. I mean, I thought this whole thing was gonna crash and burn. My brother said, Anyway, but somehow we're still here, all right? Who wants to learn while similes and metaphors. So similes and metaphors, What are they? Well, they're similar in that they're both used to describe something in more detail, however, similar issues like her as in their comparisons and metaphors. Don't, for instance, examples assemblies would be life is like a box of chocolates, or I came in like a wrecking ball. A metaphor, on the other hand, would be Life's a roller coaster or the world's a stage. They're technically not true. But you understand the symbolism that's the great thing about similes and metaphors. Make the writing more vivid, you know, really put the reader right there. So now that we've covered that, let's see it in action. Uh, all right, welcome back. So in the last lesson, we went over concrete details, and then this one, we're gonna be examining some similes and metaphors, so kind of like the last lesson. What I'll do is I like some examples and then speak a little more about, um all right, so And for this one, since we're dealing with similes and metaphors, probably used two different colors to highlight them. That way, it will be easy to tell which is which. All right, so let's start with good metaphor. Film a sweat for primer right here. Good cream the heat for a coat of paint from another example of the metaphor. All right, After that, a bicyclist fumes by then, we'll do liquid Lee around a corner finish off with hollow er than a Basu. All right, so that does it for the metaphors and, uh, well highlights since similes. All right, so we'll start off showing like, a cheek head on the boil. Comforts of loneliness. Fallen like a bad platoon. All right, so that does it for similes. So we'll start off with the metaphors. So what I like about the 1st 2 metaphors is that they really elevate the image to play into this idea of heat that we're feeling throughout it being July and in New York. So, like I said, with a film of sweat. We all know what sweat feels like. Kind of that sticky feeling kind of dirty, too, and have a cheese for primer. I mean, it's technically not a primer, but in this sense what it really does. His adds to that idea of heat is that being hot And then again, with the heat for a coat of pants, a little more obvious is to what it's alluding to. But again, with that idea of heat, being paint kind of heavy sticks on with a bicycle is fuming by. So technically, bicycles can't fumed by. But again, the idea of the fumes hope Can I zoom bias that speaks to the pace at which the bicyclists is going and then going back to the cat. Uh, not only is it a concrete detail, but it slips into a metaphor with it being liquid lee around a corner. And again, that kind of adds to the image of the cat instead of just stopping at cat, you know, walking by what you really do. What William Matthews really does is creates this vivid image of a cat the way that it moves it being very fluid throughout, almost slipping around the corner like water and then ending with ha lower than a But soon how this adds to kind of this sad feeling that we've seen home as a poem. It's progressed, but with it being of a man and woman in the relationship, how it's ending and then being Holloway than a bassoon. Kind of that just emptiness, really is what it speaks to now soas faras similes, with the 1st 1 showing like a tea kettle on the boil again, that elevates this image of a whistle. So not only do we know that overshadows high pitch but linking it to a tea kettle on the boil. We know what that sounds like, how that very shrill sound, how it cuts through everything so again that just elevates image and really makes it more vivid, thus creating a greater sense of place for the reader. And then, with the next one, the comforts of loneliness fallen like a bad platoon. How this one, what I like about this is that it gives it almost personifies loneliness and linking it to this army kind of being in a routine and how not necessarily good one, which is what I feel like it's kind of addressing, but again, kind of falling in step almost a ziff. It's an expected kind of idea, which I feel like William Matthews really does. Well, in finding an original way. Teoh explore this idea of loneliness and how he's given it a bit of character instead of just saying that they feel lonely. All right. So, again, hopefully this helps you out. And you can take these tips and apply them to your own writing, not only for the final project, but in general, even after this course ends. And yet thanks for listening. Okay. Cool. Checked another one off the list. All right, I'll see you guys in the next lesson only if you want it. I mean, you don't have to, Really. It's your choice. But I really like it if you did, so Yeah. Okay. I'm gonna go now. All right. 5. Finding Inspiration: all right. So before we wrap this whole thing up, I wanted to talk to you guys about inspiration, writing stuff. I know everybody says that, but it's true. I mean, some days I'm just sold higher, like, so tired and hungry. Nothing's come to mind. Okay, well, that's most days, but you get the point. Um, anyway, sometimes you just need that extra boost. You know something to get those gears turning. So hopefully that's what this will do. Like I said, the goal of this lesson is to give you some insight into my process and how I get inspired when I'm in trouble writing. Let's jump right in. I love watching movies because of how much an image can say whether it's a glance. Last four from every frame could be a painting. Sometimes I'll use a specific scene. Is the setting for a poem and work from there? Maybe ask myself, I'd feel in that situation or even create a new character altogether. Listening to music is a bit similar to watch a movie, and that it can be so visceral. A song can evoke a strong feeling or even transport you back to another time I like to hone in on that feeling as well as the images I see in my head. Speaking of images in your head, another great exercises to take a memory and write it with as many details as possible. It can range from the way the air felt on your skin toe how the light hit the carpet. It's really up to how deeper willing to go. I know this sounds creepy, but I promise it's not. At least I hope that, um, anyway, sometimes it helps to just sit in a coffee shop or on a park bench and observe what's going on around you. You don't have to write a poem right then and there. But maybe take some notes about some interesting people the way they look. When nobody's watching the things they do, who knows? It could be a poem, and there were to get home. The last piece of advice I'll give you is to read everything you can as often as you can. The fastest way. I've improved as the writers, by reading the work of those admire and aspire to be. Like I said, it doesn't have to be poetry, but if you're looking for some resource is to get started. I'd recommend checking out poetry foundation dot org's and poets dot org's where you can enter the email and received one palm a day. You know, finding its British Be hard, believe me, struggling right now. But hopefully this helps. The last thing I'll say is that sometimes the greatest form of inspiration is stepping away from the page and just living like So don't be afraid to get out there If you are, Do it anyway. Okay, so you guys in the next one? 6. Putting It All Together: all right. We did it. That's crazy to say. I don't know much else to say other than thanks for enrolling in my class. Hopefully you learned some things that I hope, even after this is done. Speaking of which, it's time we do a recap of everything we learned. So enjoy the next few slides. Cue the music. Hi. To keep the music. Okay. - Okay . Well, that does it. Thanks again for watching. And don't forget uploaded poems to the project gallery. When you're done, I'll try my best to comment on many as I can. All right. See you guys later.