Canada Writes·Writing Tip

Need inspiration for your poem? Stop looking and listen

The 2019 CBC Poetry Prize is now open. To inspire and support you along the way, CBC Books is publishing a writing tip each week.
Notice the little things around you. (Shutterstock)

The 2019 CBC Poetry Prize is open for submissions! You can submit your original, unpublished poetry of up to 600 words for a chance to win $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and have your work published on CBC Books. The deadline to enter is May 31, 2019.

To inspire and support you along the way, we are publishing a writing tip each week on CBC Books. You can also subscribe to our writing tips newsletter for more tips and inspiration.

This week's tip is from Juliane Okot Bitek.

"Listen. Listen to your body and to what it is saying. Listen to what's going on, sounding, vibrating, floating about you. Listen to the misheard statements and how they rub up against each other and sometimes beg to be the beginning of something. Listen to scraps of paper on the sidewalk and to your recurring dreams. Everything is clamouring for your attention. Be aware of what wants to be written, then faithfully write what you hear."

Juliane Okot Bitek is the author of 100 Days and Sublime: Lost Words. 100 Days was a finalist for the 2017 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, the Pat Lowther Award, the 2017 Alberta Book Awards and the 2017 Canadian Authors Award for Poetry. It won the 2017 IndieFab Book of the Year Award for poetry and the 2017 Glenna Lushei Prize for African Poetry. Her poem Gauntlet made 2018 CBC Poetry Prize longlist.

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