Erin's Poetry Tips

40 tips to poetry and poetry forums

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Quick Tips

I've found a few quickie tips on the web, I thought you'd all like to read them, many of them repeat things I've already said, but that's OK too, because those things bear repeating!

People will remember an image long after they've forgotten why it was there.

Submit your poems. Sooner or later you have to send your babies out into the world to find their way. Emily Dickinson was a fluke, most people who don't publish while they're alive will never be seen or heard of -- no matter how good their poems.

Think about what you are trying to express but don't do it with literal intentions, use symbols, metaphors and descriptions.

Be yourself when you are writing poetry, explore your different sides through poetry, the facets of your personality.

Write poetry about people that have touched you, objects you love, memories and places. Use your five senses and even your sixth sense.

Be like a diamond, having many facets making up a whole full of sparkling endeavors.

Get silent and breathe before you begin, being tranquil will make it easier to write.

Enlarge your vocabulary, look through dictionaries and books to increase your vocabulary and use those words in a poem.

Most of all have fun, strong feelings of any kind will enhance your true nature and you will find it easier to express it through your poetry.

Be happy writing poetry, this is your time to expand and write whatever comes into your mind.

Write to the world or write poetry to someone special.

Don't be shy.

Give thanks for life, reward it with a poem.

Say what you want to say, let the reader decide what it means.

Don't explain EVERYTHING.

Poems that focus on form (Sonnet, Villanelle, etc.) are a challenge. They make you think.

If you write a bad poem, at least you wrote.

Develop your voice. Get comfortable with how YOU write poetry.

Don't be afraid to write poetry from a different point of view. Write a poem that says exactly the opposite of what you believe, and do it without irony.

Untitled poems are lazy. They're like unnamed children. Obviously their parent doesn't care about them.

Write in different places. Keep a notebook. Write in a park or on a street-corner or in an alley. You don't HAVE to write about the place, but it will influence you whether you do or not.

Listen to talk radio while you write. Listen to the people who call. Great characters and voices emerge that way.

If you don't like a poem or poet, figure out exactly why. Chances are, it reflects something you don't like about your own poetry.

When nothing is coming, start writing poetry very fast-- any word, phrase or sentence that comes to mind. Do that for about a minute, then go back to your poem. (I call this flushing.) Whether to use anything you flushed is up to you. You can, but that's not the purpose.

The more you read, the more you learn. The more you write poetry, the more you develop.

Make a list of poems you can remember specific lines from. Go back and read those poems. Figure out why they stuck with you.

There are many excuses not to write. Try using writing poetry as an excuse not to do other things.

Keep a dream journal. Dreams are your mind at it's most creative so listen to it. Don't feel you have to write a poem ABOUT your dreams. If you want to, fine, but the main goal is to see what thoughts the dreams lead you to.

Subscribe to poetry journals. Give back to the poetry community by reading (and paying for) the works of others. If you don't, what right have you to expect others to do it for you?

When nothing is coming for you, try analyzing someone else' s poems. (Or even one of yours) Figure out what works, what doesn't work, and why. Think about what you would have done differently.

Use humor, irony, and melodrama, just don't abuse them.

Write the worst poem you can possibly write. Use cliché's, pretentious words, and beat your reader over the head with your point. Felt good, didn't it? Now get back to work. The point is, don't be afraid to write a bad poem. If it takes a hundred bad poems before you can produce a poem you like, fine, get that hundred out of the way.

That one perfect line in a twenty line poem may be what makes it all worthwhile, or it may be what makes the rest of the poem bad. Keep an eye on it.

Every great poet has written a bad poem, probably dozens or hundreds, possibly thousands. They kept writing though, and so should you.

Every line of a poem should be important to the poem, and interesting to read. A poem with only 3 great lines should be 3 lines long.

Poems should progress. There should be a reason why the first stanza comes before the second, the second before the third, and so on.

Listen to criticism, and try to learn from it, but don't live or die by it.

When you write a good poem, one you really like, immediately write another. Maybe that one poem was your peak for the night or maybe you're on a roll. There's only one way to find out.

Follow your fear. Don't back away from subjects that make you uncomfortable, and don't try to keep your personal demons off the page. Even if you never publish the poems they produce, you have to push yourself and write as honestly as possible.


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