You know the feeling: you drive back into your hometown and pass your high school or you smell the perfume your mom used to wear when you were younger? Moments like this make memories flood over us in a wave of fresh nostalgia. We can be transported back to a different time and place through familiar songs, places, and even people. The experience can be a bittersweet one as we think back on the way things used to be. But, I’ve found that it can also be a wonderful place to create some nostalgic poetry.
When creating a nostalgic poem, you’ll want to dial into some of your most treasured memories.
Let your senses guide you.
One of the most powerful ways to experience nostalgia for the past is by being immersed in something that reminds you of it in your present. Go to a place you used to frequent when you were younger. For me, one of those places is the track at my old high school. It reminds me of football games with my friends and hot chocolates on a cold night. I can almost smell the crisp air. I can almost hear the marching band playing and the student section cheering. Just like that, I am transported back there, and I can use the experience to dig up some old emotions or new perspectives on a memory. If you can’t physically go to the place you’re thinking of, sometimes even just looking at a picture can transport you there.
Let your emotions help you.
Nostalgia is usually associated with positive memories. They may be bittersweet, but either way, they evoke deep reflection. A nostalgic poem depends on the strength of the things you felt in the moment and the ones you feel looking back on it now. Channel those emotions. Let them pour out into your words. Let the reader experience your story through your eyes. Show them your world and the difference the moment made for you.
Let it teach you.
It is almost impossible for me to look back on a time in my life without looking for a lesson in it or for something to take away from that time. Like bookends or chapters, we tend to label our memories a certain way in our minds. As you reflect on your memory for a poem, really take some time to dissect it. What were you like then? How are you different now? What did you learn? What has changed? What has stayed the same? What do you wish you knew then that you know now? There are so many angles you can take with this.
For example, a nostalgic memory I have is when my husband and I moved into our first house. I remember the fear and excitement. I remember the moving boxes everywhere and the makeshift table where we ate pizza and watched Netflix. It was a time of transition for me, and when I think back on it, I can really tune into that part of my story: being on the verge of something new and the emotions that go along with it. I reflect on what I’ve learned from it and what I was in the process of learning at that very moment. Nostalgic poetry allows us to really come full circle with an experience.
You are made up of so many special and unique moments. They have made you into the person you are today, so why not create poetry that honors that? What are some of your most nostalgic memories? Which ones do you feel inspired to write about today? We can’t wait to hear what you come up with.