Writing Non-Fiction posted August 2, 2009

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Suggestions for Better Poetry

Inside Your Poem

by skye

Writing poetry is work. It takes practice, writing, re-writing, editing, re-editing, and crafting the random, perfect images into a poem.

To get to the finished product, the poet starts with thought. Imagination, prompts, experience, activities, events, and relationships are all used in the creative process. Harvesting ideas from day-to-day life is the foundation of writing. Good writing comes from within, a cliche, but solidly true. Every meal, conversation, trip to the grocery store, visit to the emergency room, school outing, soccer game, bus ride to work, and eight hours in a cubicle answering the telephone provide fresh inspiration.

After the creative writing has begun, the technical process must start.

For your poem to live a life outside of your computer or dog-eared notebook, each must be shaped, gently sculpted into the form that will capture the editor's subjective notice. Most writers dream of publication in a journal, paper, book, or collection of exquisite poetry.

There are basic elements, poetic devices, that comprise poetry. The use of these will make your poem fresh, clever, and memorable.

1. Assonance - repeating vowel sounds.

2. Alliteration - repeating the initial consonant sound.

3. Slant rhymes - such as poem/woman.

4. Anaphora - repeating words or lines within the poem.

5. Imagery - appealing to the senses.

6. Onomatopoeia - words which imitate sound (buzz).

7. Metaphor - a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity -- eg She is a butterfly.

These are just a few of the construction basics of writing poetry.

Adding music through words that flow easily also enhances your writing.

Hard consonants and soft consonants blend into soothing or rhythmic sounds when the poem is read aloud.

After you have incorporated some of these suggestions, written your lines, read them out loud, had someone else read them, it is time to edit the whole piece for contesting or publication.

The following are some guidelines to help make your poem stronger and leave the reader with concise, well-crafted images.

1. Titles are the entry way into the poem.

Is it memorable? A cliche? Unique? Titles create immediate interest. Does yours?

2. Is your poem eye-pleasing in shape and on the page? Is it distracting? Centering your poem is usually not what editor's desire when accepting poetry for publication. Left-hand margins are normal.

3. Does your poem adhere to all the regulations of any form that you may have chosen? Sonnet, haiku, etc.

4. Have you used the poetic devices to create rhythm, avoided sing-song patterns, been fresh with images and meter?

5. Is your use or non-use of punctuation effective? Would it be better using another variety of style, more enjambments?

6. As you read it through, is the meaning and feeling clear, or does it get lost with the overuse of too many devices?

7. Do you leave the reader with a contented feeling, a surprise, an insight, or something fresh and original?

8. Have you thought about appropriate length? Some contests and publications have strict rules.

9. Finally, does it satisfy you? Does it reflect what you wanted to say when you began creating this poem?

The most important suggestion for any writer is this:

Write daily. Every day.

Then review what you write, edit, submit.

There is nothing so satisfying as having one of your poems published or winning a contest prize..

A Lesson for Writers contest entry


To The One Who Takes My Breath Away
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