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Writing Poetry – The Creative Process

July 12th, 2019

The Chinese poet Li Po (Tang Dynasty) said, “Writing poetry is like being alive twice.”  The experience of writing is individual to each poet and yet when one researches and reads about the poets one admires and aspires towards, there is often a common thread.  Every poet no matter when or where they are in the world draws on the experience they accumulate during the different stages of their life and the environment they find themselves in. And this shapes the way in which a poem is developed.  It becomes the defining factor in the texture of their work.

For myself, writing poetry has given me a voice and an opportunity to relive situations that have been beyond my control in my life.  The process of writing poems has helped me to finally feel that I have a voice, whether addressing personal issues, or subjects close to my heart such as nature, environmental or social issues.  Furthermore, having grown up in a bilingual, bi-cultural family and now living in a third culture, with a third language, it has helped me to express myself in a language that I feel is all my own.

I try to write with as much emotional freedom as possible, taking in the moment and/or the environment around me. When a poem begins to emerge in my head, I am usually outdoors and walking in the woods.  A single word can pop into my mind, perhaps it emerges in an instance when an observation is made and then it lingers.  Oftentimes, it is followed by a phrase or a string of words, then I have to stop what I am doing and write the words down in one of my little notepads that I carry in my back pocket or jot them down in my phone.  After I take these ideas and begin working and re-working them, hand-written in a journal.  Painstakingly, I cross out and rewrite sentences, replacing words, playing around with the lines, length and spacing.

Once I have a skeleton of a poem, I begin to type it in to the computer.  For me writing is a very tactile experience and the first steps are almost always handwritten. As far as inspiration is concerned it is drawn from many places, however the landscape of the Zurich Highlands and its imagery appears again and again in my poetry.  Many times, I find myself mixing the boundaries of self and nature in the themes of my work.  The more I step out into nature, the more poetry reveals itself to me.  Getting outside for me is almost like a necessity, like breathing, it is essential for me to keep going forward with my writing and to be well-balanced.  I think a lot of this sentiment has to do with the fact that I do not feel that humanity and nature are separate, but intrinsically connected and this belief is revealed repeatedly in my poems.

I like to experiment with blurring the lines between nature and oneself.


TAK Erzinger is an American/Swiss poet and artist with a Colombian background. Her poetry and personal essays have been featured in Mojave He[art] Review, Cirrus Poetry Review, The Beautiful Space Journal, The Curlew, The Rising Phoenix Review, The Woolf Magazine and more.  Her debut poetry collection entitled, “Found: Between the Trees” (Grey Borders Books 2019) is currently available at http://www.greybordersbooks.jigsy.com/TAK-Erzinger and on Amazon at https://www.amazon.ca/Found-Between-Trees-TAK-Erzinger-ebook/dp/B07PKFKTZ8

Most recently she was interviewed by World Radio Switzerland, a partner of BBC radio and by Swisspats, to listen to go to: http://worldradio.ch/article/tak-erzinger-poetry-and-pilgrimage-on-st-jacobs-way/ and http://swisspats.com/swisspats-met-a-poet-dont-ya-know-it

She lives in a Swiss valley with her husband and cat.
















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