Canada Writes

Wondering how to write an extraordinary poem? Be inspired by the ordinary

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.
Ordinary things can sometimes inspire great writing. (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 You can submit your original, unpublished poetry of up to 600 words for a chance to win $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and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 the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize winner, Natalie Lim.

"Don't underestimate the power of the ordinary. When you're out and about, be ready to jot down street signs, graffiti, snippets of passing conversations and anything else that catches your attention. Take pictures of sidewalk art and weird statues. Make a note when the view out the bus window reminds you of your favourite song. Remember the sound of a man's blue suit flapping in the wind as he sprints past you on the street. Where is he going and why? You might be surprised where the most mundane things can take you if you write them down and come back to them later."

Natalie Lim is a poet, occasional musician, unashamed nerd and soon-to-be-graduate of the school of communication at Simon Fraser University. She won the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize for Arrhythmia.

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