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Should doubt high drift over my love for thee
grey gloomy cloud, disconsolate, strong reign
bleak darkened frown, portend deep misery,
hide hearts resolve, beneath shadowed disdain.

Should you feel, sudden cold breath of gloom,
spate of fear, black scourge upon painted leaf,
quick cruelly fade love, grim in abject doom,
swift eclipse hopes hue, behind shaded grief.

And would unshakable faith, far be blown,
fiercely shook from loose grasp, once so near
wither sweet loves blossom, thus loss bemoan
newly dead splendor, once honored then hear:

Eternally damned shall I rove and cry
Tormented ever to seek how and why.

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Revise Your Poetry!

Revise Your Poetry!

The first completed draft of your poem is only the beginning. Poets often go through several drafts of a poem before considering the work “done.”

To revise:

Put your poem away for a few days, and then come back to it. When you re-read it, does anything seem confusing? Hard to follow? Do you see anything that needs improvement that you overlooked the first time?

Often, when you are in the act of writing, you may leave out important details because you are so familiar with the topic. Re-reading a poem helps you to see it from the “outsider’s perspective” of a reader.

Show your poem to others and ask for criticism. Don’t be content with a response like, “That’s a nice poem.” You won’t learn anything from that kind of response. Instead, find people who will tell you specific things you need to improve in your poem.

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greenHow is originality fostered?

1. By personal difficulties, particularly in childhood, that have been worked through. Analyse and meet these difficulties.

2. By unswerving self-honesty. Ask yourself: is this what you really hoped to write? Could you not dig deeper into the wellsprings of the poem?

3. By starting afresh, expanding your repertoire with new techniques and new themes.

4. By pacing yourselves, drawing up timetables of writing that extend and build on previous accomplishments.

5. By working in related fields: writing novels, short-stories, articles: particularly where these unlock new perspectives and energies.

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j0439466[1]Vocabularies not only reflect interests and fashions, but must be broadly effective in a contemporary setting.

1. That is the argument against poeticisms and out-of date words like thee, ’tis, maiden.

2. Words never possess wholly transparent meanings, but in the more affective poetry their latent associations, multiple meanings, textural suggestions and rhythmic power are naturally given freer rein.

3. The touchstone is always the intended audience. “Word too familiar, or too remote, defeat the purpose of a poet,” said Johnson, and that observation remains true, as much for traditionalists writing inside a poetic tradition as for others trying to kindle poetry out of naked experience.

4. Place your poems alongside others in magazines or anthologies in which you’d like to be included. If they don’t fit, one reason may be your word choice.

5. Perform your poems in workshops and readings. Pay attention to the reception and to comments afterwards.

6. If in doubt, err on the side of everyday usage, even if it means spoiling the odd line.

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By Al Rocheleau
AVOID ABSTRACT WORD SYMBOLS”Love,” “life,” “death,” “hate,” “truth,” “spirit,” “soul,” “beauty,” “grief.” SHOW these things; don’t just say them. By themselves, they mean nothing to the reader.

(Before:)

Love dwells within your soul, you see the beauty of life through him.

(Instead, how about:)

There are those who can neither see the filament that glows and drives your chosen saint, however slowly, to his source.
You are not one of those, of course.

(The latter stanzas have something to do with love, devotion, duality, immortality perhaps– but without using “love” “life” and “beauty” to say so.)

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by Al Rocheleau
USE ACTION VERBS

Don’t write in disjointed fragments. Those who you may think wrote largely in fragments (Williams, Plath, Bukowski) did nothing of the sort. There was a line, a string upon which those words traveled to an inevitable conclusion. Whether fixed form or free verse, the poem must move. You can get a lot of mileage out of the sentence form in a poem.

In 1) The first version has a lot of fragments, not perfectly connected– lots of stops and crooked starts, not necessarily leading to the same ending. The second is essentially ONE sentence. Stanzas are often one sentence, driven from an isolated image or premise, to a definite conclusion. And the way you drive your lines, just as you do an effective sentence is by using action verbs. Make your lines DO something, not BE something.

I am sad. Tears flowing. Sadder than I’ve ever been. Because of you.
(How about instead):
I drive this deaf nail into the wall; penetrate sheetrock and you.
(Ouch! While the language was “indirect,” the effect wasn’t!)

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Bottled Up Sentiments Blog
Bottled Up Sentiments

I would like to welcome Bottled Up Sentiments, our latest blog addition to our growing contributors.  Click on the image to visit this beautifully designed blog!

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