How to Write About Spring

Publish date:

Here’s a guest post from Amanda Laughtland (written earlier this year) about how she was encouraged to write about spring and why she thinks its worthwhile for other poets to do the same. If you have an idea for a guest post too, just send an e-mail to with the subject line: Poetic Asides Guest Post.


Twenty years ago, I was a graduate student struggling in a seminar taught by a famous poet who didn’t like my poems. Toward the end of the quarter, he invited each student for an individual conference in his office, and I’ll always remember the image of him eating a strawberry milkshake from the university cafeteria with a spoon and saying, “If this is what you want to write, I don’t know what to say to you.”

I didn’t reply. Then he did come up with something to say to me: “Why don’t you write about nature? Go out and take a walk. It’s spring. Write about spring.”

He wrote a lot of poems about wild animals and the natural world himself. I’d been writing poems about aquarium fish and Orson Welles’ club foot and Amelia Earhart’s missing plane; I’m sure he figured I needed to get out more. It was earnest advice, and I made an earnest effort to follow it.


Tackle a New Poetic Challenge by Learning Poetic Forms!

wd guide to poetic forms

One of the best ways to break out of a creative rut is to try writing to poetic forms, and poets have plenty of poetic ammunition with The Writer's Digest Guide to Poetic Forms, which includes more than 40 poetic forms and sample poems.

This e-book collects content from the Poetic Asides columns published in the Writer's Digest magazine over several years--all in one easy-to-use resource.

Click to continue.


Earnest Effort to Write About Spring

I recruited my best friend for a series of walks and picnics near picturesque lakes and in rhododendron-filled parks. Though I was taking the professor’s advice seriously, I knew he wouldn’t like the poems I was writing because I couldn’t help but see spring in an unusual way. My version of spring involved describing the nearly illegible signs that must have been put up by park rangers in my grandparents’ youth, and noticing the sound of my friend’s almost-empty juice box as we finished our ham and cheese sandwiches and potato chips.

The truth is that I felt pretty down on myself. Why couldn’t I write a “real” poem about spring? I questioned my ability as a poet. When I sat at my desk on those spring evenings, thinking of Wordsworth and attempting to recollect my emotions in tranquility, images came filtered through the reality of my days, where despite the flowers and grasses and waterways, I saw the cover of the physics textbook my friend was reading as I steadily resisted the knowledge that I was falling in love with her.

Earnest Appeal to Write About Spring

All this to say: I, too, ask you to write about spring, but with a direct invitation to explore the unique and unconventional things that spring means to you.

Returning to Wordsworth, try this: take inspiration from the first two lines of “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”, and write a poem in which your speaker compares himself or herself to something he or she experiences or observes about spring, similar to how Wordsworth starts by having his first-person (and probably autobiographical) speaker compare himself to a cloud. You don’t have to make a comparison to something from the natural world; you might find a more fitting comparison with a car wash on the first sunny day in spring, or a windowpane during a hailstorm.

Another exercise inspired by Wordsworth would be to write a poem which includes a shift in time, such that part of the poem occurs during spring and part during another time. We don’t know for sure when the final stanza of Wordsworth’s poem is meant to take place, but we know he’s reflecting back on the springtime experience (maybe from wintertime, maybe from other springtimes...?).

For a recent poem that brings together past and present through shifts in images and metaphors, check out “9773 Comanche Avenue” by David Trinidad; the speaker shares spring-like, pastel-colored memories of his childhood home, alongside a modern-day representation of the same house through the lens of Google Maps.

Write About Spring...In Your Own Way

Spring is one of those traditionally meaningful topics that we know we’re supposed to pay attention to as poets. The idea of spring comes with a series of images and associations attached to it. I encourage you to think about spring a bit longer and from different perspectives; in other words, you might well start with typical notions about spring, but why not approach these notions in an original way that holds interest and meaning for you as an individual—and as a poet?


Amanda Laughtland

Amanda Laughtland

Amanda Laughtland is a poet and teacher who lives in the Seattle area. Her latest project is a series of short e-books of writing prompts, most recently Spring into Writing: Creative Prompts for Journaling, Poetry, and Prose.

She’s the author of a book-length collection of poems called Postcards to Box 464 (Bootstrap Press), as well as several chapbooks, including I Meant to Say, a sequence of poems inspired by personal ads.

Amanda has taught English at Edmonds Community College since 2004. Whenever she finds the time, she publishes original e-books, handmade books, and zines under her imprint, Teeny Tiny Press.


Here are a few other poetic posts:


The “Secret Sauce” Necessary to Succeed at a 30-Day Writing Challenge

In this article, author and writing coach Nina Amir lays out her top tips to master your mindset and complete a 30-day writing challenge.


Crashing Into New Worlds: Writing About the Unfamiliar

Award-winning crime author Stephanie Kane explains how she builds characters unlike herself and navigates their worlds to create vivid and realistic stories.


Plot Twist Story Prompts: Without a Trace

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character leave without a trace.


Vintage WD: The Truth about True Crime

In this article from July 2000, true crime novelist and former New York Times correspondent Lisa Beth Pulitzer shares with us some key insights for breaking into the true crime genre.


New Agent Alert: Barb Roose of Books & Such Literary Management

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Barb Roose of Books & Such Literary Management) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.


Evoking Emotion in Fiction: Seven Pragmatic Ways to Make Readers Give a Damn

Evoking emotion on the page begins with the man or woman at the keyboard. Dustin Grinnell serves up seven straightforward tactics for writing tear-jerking stories that make your readers empathize with your characters.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 546

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a spooky poem.


Learn Better World-Building Strategies Through World of Warcraft and the New Shadowlands Expansion

WD editor and fantasy writer Moriah Richard shares five unique ways in which writers can use World of Warcraft to better build their worlds—without playing the game.