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Six Things Your Mother Doesn’t Know About Writing Poetry

  By Bill Ruesch

Writing poetry isn’t hard. Anyone can do it. Writing good poetry, however, is difficult and few people do it well. Just because your third grade teacher liked your butterfly poem and entered it in a writing contest for ten-year-old’s doesn’t mean that you are ready to hit the national stage.

If you really want to become a good poet you must prepare yourself by learning everything you can about the craft. Study the masters. Find a poet you want to emulate and try writing in their style. Avoid the old masters. Poetry like any other art has evolved. Longfellow was a superstar in his time, and his fame lives forever, but if you submit a poem for publishing expect a rejection for no other reason than it is old fashioned.

 Mistakes made by almost every beginner.

Forced end rhymes. With apologies to rap musicians who consider themselves poets, it doesn’t have to rhyme. In fact, obvious rhymes are distracting to creating a deeper meaning. If you want your poems to be dismissed as shallow one guaranteed way to do it is rhyme every line. Here’s a tip, try replacing your end rhymes with internal rhymes. Bump your rhyming words down to the middle of the next line. Or try using near rhymes instead of exact. For example leaf and beef are perfect rhyming words but leaf and neat aren’t, but they sound close enough that the ear picks it up anyway. Another technique to soften distracting rhymes is to scatter them throughout the ends of lines. For example you can end the first line with a rhyming word, but wait until line eight before you match it.

Abstract words and phrases. If you write a love poem don’t use the word love anywhere in it. You can’t tell anyone anything about love by using the word. Instead tell us how love makes you feel. Compare it to an experience we can relate to, but show is through your eyes what it means to you. What are abstract words? Most new poets don’t know, but it is very easy to learn. Anything you can’t experience through your senses sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch is abstract.

Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me.Because poetry is perceived to be the language of the heart too many inexperienced poets use it to express their pain, grieif or anger at lost love. Everyone has disappointment in love. You are not the first to experience it, nor are you the last. Tell us something we don’t know.

Poetic Licence. We’ve all heard the phrase poetic licence, but that is a term that should be reserved to master poets only. Too many new poets try to claim poetic licence for sloppiness. Good writing principles apply to poetry too. Spelling and grammar count.

Never Read Aloud. Always, always, always read your poems aloud and to other people. You may think that poetry is a art of literature, but it is also an art of hearing. Does it sound right when you read it out loud? If not, findout what sounds wrong and fix it. Some new poets seem to believe that if they show their work around someone is going to steal it from them. You can rest assured that isn’t going to happen. There’s no dearth of poets or poems in this world. Stealing your precious words isn’t going to happen, even if you begged them to steal it.

Delusions of Glory. Like any other art, poetry is a craft carefully honed usually over many years. It is extremely rare that a shooting star will burst on the scene. It’s as rare as winning the lottery with one ticket purchase.

One woman I met who fancied herself God’s gift to poetry came into a class I was attending. Her work was awful. The teacher suggested that she study the writing of great poets and she declined the advice saying, “I wouldn’t want their writing to influence my pure style.” She didn’t finish the class for the same reason I suppose. I sure hope we didn’t inadvertently besmirch her purity.

Bill Ruesch is a member of the Utah State Poetry Society. He has taught poets for many years and has seen four of his students become Utah’s Poet of the Year over the last six years. His profession is printing broker and is in the process of creating a new organizations for authors called The Red Hen Association of Self-Publishing Authors. You can catch up with Bill by going to his website http://www.billprintbroker.comArticle Source: 


 6 Great Poetry Writing Exercises

By Sue Kendrick


1. Stress, Stress, Stress! 

There is nothing like a bit of pressure to concentrate your mind! Allow yourself five minutes to write. Don’t worry about scanning or rhyming, jot down random words and phrases then see what you have come up with. Chances are you will have at least a line or two to work with.

2. Think Of A Subject

The weather, your dog, the rat that dumped you, your annoying little brother… these can all be turned into good poems. Yes they have all been done before, but don’t worry about that, there is nothing new under the sun. Look for a unique angle by jotting down a whole list of associated words and then brain storm from these. You will soon see a thread emerging which will lead you down an interesting poetical pathway.

If you can’t think of anything from your own life experiences, buy a newspaper and look for a good human interest story. The agony columns in a woman’s magazine are also great sources for inspiration.

3. Out Of Your Mind!

All the best poetry is written during an altered state of consciousness so go for a quite walk, a long run or any other repetitive exercise which occupies the body but leaves the mind free to wander other worlds. If you hate the thought of exercise, ironing works just as well! Many a good poem has been birthed amongst the shirts and underwear!

4. Use Your Senses!

Taste, touch, sight, sound can all be used to create sensory word pictures which will really bring your poem alive. Spend a few minutes describing an object or place using all your senses.

5. Make A List – Metaphorically!

In fact make three! One for adjectives, one for concrete nouns, (those are the ones you experience with your senses, e.g. chip butty) and one for abstract nouns, (these are non-sensory like disapproval).

Fill a page with these and then pick a word from each column to construct a metaphor. Most of what you produce will be rubbish, but you’ve a good chance of coming up with a gem or two which may well result in a very original poem.

6. Get Religion

This doesn’t mean joining some freaky religious sect although go ahead if you think it will give you poetical inspiration! A less extreme option is to open a bible randomly and glance swiftly down its pages. Whatever religious persuasions you hold, there is no doubt that there are some beautifully crafted phrases in the Bible that can quickly inspire new trains of thought or even form the basis of a poem in their own right.

There are lots of other ways to provoke inspiration, but, practiced regularly, using just these methods, you should see an improvement in your verse in quite a short space of time. Once you have written a few poems of a reasonable standard, you can then think about getting them published or even selling your poems. It isn’t as hard as you think! Check this article to find out more. Selling Poems Also, here’s a useful video on mindmapping which will help with brainstorming ideas. Mind Mapping

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