Need a Last-Minute Valentine’s Poem? SMU Has You Covered

SMU Hughes Fellow in Creative Writing Samyak Shertok has tips for the procrastinating romantic.

His three steps for writing a love poem:

  1. Find a quiet place where nothing comes between you and the page.
  2. Begin writing spontaneously, freely, and naturally. Let each sentence reveal the next.
  3. Attend totally to the person you’re writing to. This connects you to the person in a deep and personal way — even before the letter has been sent.

Students in Shertok’s creative writing class learned to write love letter poems to sweethearts, long-gone family members, and favorite places. But, he also encourages them to write them to themselves.

The award-winning poet has long known the emotional value of creative writing. He wrote poems for palliative care patients as a visiting poet at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. Also, in 2015, an earthquake in Nepal destroyed his childhood home, so he returned to launch Healing Through Poetry: Nepal Earthquake Project. He helped rebuild communities by leading poetry workshops and wrote poetry for earthquake survivors.

“Creative writing is like forest bathing,” Shertok said. “You do not know what you might encounter, (what) path you might take, or where you will end up. All you can do is keep walking and be completely present to everything that’s around you.”

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