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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 That is the argument against poeticisms and out-of date words like thee, ’tis, maiden.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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William Wordsworth, the subject of the poem. P...

Image via Wikipedia

by Karen Miner (guest blogger)
Rummaging through poetry’s tool box we find lots of tools to help us express ourselves originally. Previously I discussed the use of metaphor; today let’s explore another tool – “simile.”

The Britannica Concise encyclopedia defines simile as: “an explicit comparison between two different things, actions, or feelings, using the words ‘as’ or ‘like’, as in Wordsworth’s line: “I wandered lonely as a cloud.”

Metaphors differ from similes in that the two objects are not compared, but treated as identical: The phrase “The snow was a blanket over the earth” is a metaphor. Contrast the previous metaphor with this simile: “The snow lay soft as a down comforter upon the ground.” It would be difficult to read the works of the masters without finding examples of simile within some of his/her poems. A common example is:

A Red, Red Rose
by Robert Burns

O my luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly played in tune.

The similes shout for attention! Love is like a rose, love is like a melody…a simple thought and yet Mr. Burns burrowed into immortality with such simple tools as similes. How then can we expand our writing using simile as a unique fingerprint on our own poetry? A simple exercise is to begin by choosing the noun that indicates your poem’s theme. Let’s try it together. Assume we are writing about a tsunami.

Noun: Tsunami. With me? Great! Now let your mind roam…what are some words a tsunami elicits? Don’t over-think it; quick! Sudden, Water, Rushing, Fear, Screams. Good! Now expand those words to similes: Sudden as a sneeze, Water tall as trees, Screams exploding like bombs, Rushing like a linebacker.

You’ve assimilated the common descriptive words used for a tsunami, sculpted them, and molded a personal framework upon which to hang the rest of your poem. Give it a try…get wild and weird. Go where the reader least expects! Please share your experience with simile, offer an example from your own work, or just say hello!

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IMG_0054 лето ушло

Image by alubavin via Flickr

 
~ pronounced pae-neh-SEE-eh (noun) – A remedy for everything, for all problems or difficulties; a cure-all, a catholicon. From Latin “panacea,” a herb Romans believed could cure all diseases. The word was borrowed from Greek panakeia “universal cure,” the feminine of the adjective panakeios “all-healing” from pan “all” + akos “cure.”

The Greek adjective pan “all” also appears in Pandaemonium, the all-demon city in the Hell of Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost.’ It is productively used to create adjectives like “pan-Arab,” “pan-African,” “pan-American,” whose abbreviation, “Panam” underlies the name of Panama. “Pan” can also be seen in panegyric “elaborate oration of praise” from Greek panegyris “public festival,” originally based on pan- + agora “assembly” + -ikos “ic.”

I’ve read on many poets in the past few years and found that a lot of them had great trials and turmoil’s in their past. Some even being in asylums and committing suicide. Join me here in reading and discovering more about our great writers of the past. Then turn that knowledge to our on usage and advantage. So with that being said, what I’m hoping to provide in this blog is a “Panacea”, a cure all for poets fighting depression, going on a wild roller coaster ride of hills and valleys, writers block, and various other ailments…

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words

It’s Poetry, Not Prose

Don’t just put prose into “poetic” lines. If you can write it out in paragraph form, and it says exactly the same thing, it’s not poetry. Don’t just deliver a message matter-of-factly, as if you were delivering a laundry list or a summons. It may communicate something, but only at face value.

(Example:)

I loved you so much
and you left me crying
how could you do it
after that night in the park
when I gave you what you wanted.

(Sounds like a suicide note. Perfectly functional as one– but it’s NOT poetry.)

(How about:)

These tears say nothing
but reflect
the winter’s lamplight at this bench
where I search
for the me I gave you.

(The latter says some of the same things, without hitting the reader over the head with them. Let the reader search his OWN experience to connect with you– don’t give THEM yours. They don’t need that, or want that. They need a new look at THEIRS.)

(By saying less, and IMPLYING more, you reach the reader emotionally. You connect. Remember– don’t tell it– SHOW it.)

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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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