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Thread: How do I write better poetry?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW satyesu's Avatar
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    How do I write better poetry?

    A/o improve what I have? I can't believe the search function found nothing on this.
    I ask questions because I know nothing.

  2. #2
    Away until July 5 SuperModerator poetinahat's Avatar
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    Maybe because every single thread here is, in the end, about writing better poetry. The Critique subforum is full of the works of people trying to improve their poetry writing. It's a much better place to start than the search function.

    I think you'll find that, if we agree on one thing here, it's that there's no silver bullet, no formula. If there were, I know I wouldn't give a dam about reading or writing it; it wouldn't be interesting, diverse or beautiful. There's no shortcut: if one wants to write better poems, one has to read and write poetry and the literature about poetry.

    Having said that, I can recommend a couple of readable, helpful, informative and eminently enjoyable books:

    - The Poetry Home Repair Manual, by Ted Kooser
    - The Ode Less Traveled, by Stephen Fry
    Verely wherefore thou dost be mine,
    That be Reasonne whye i walke yon Line
    -- Geoffrey Chaucer, "The Cashman's Tale"

    Not every poem requires a saw.
    - Ambrosia

  3. #3
    Miss Conceived Liralen's Avatar
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    Two things that I've found have helped me:

    Read what I've written out loud to myself

    Distill the poem down to its essence
    The creative writing process is a lot like emotional binge and purge cycles.

    Can you find the Pitbull?

    WIP ~ The Black Dog Dialogues: At the raw, dark fringes of exhaustion, there is The Black Dog

  4. #4
    crazy mean SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Read a lot of really good poetry.

    Then read a whole lot more.

    Keep doing that.

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW Billytwice's Avatar
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    You could also read a lot of really bad poetry.
    I have and really enjoyed some of them.

    The secret is just read lots of poetry.
    Billytwice
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  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    What kind of poetry do you want to write better?

  7. #7
    Grand Duchess Ambrosia's Avatar
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    Satyesu,

    Take one of your poems that you have finished and stick it into the crit forum. Then pay attention to the comments you get on how to improve the piece. Then revise it and post it back in that thread. And pay attention to the feedback you get on it.

    Improving your writing of anything takes practice. Lots and lots of practice. And reading, particularly in the genre you are interested in writing in. In this case poetry. If you are going for a specific type of poetry, say haiku, read as much haiku as you can get your hands on. But read sonnets, too. Because reading other types of poetry will show you things you won't get by just reading haiku.

    Read, write, listen to comments, revise.
    ..


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    .


  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Drink more alcohol. Live a short, tragic life on the edge. It has worked for many poets, though they may not have lived to reap the benefits.

  9. #9
    Aquarius theDolphin's Avatar
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    So loving the answers in here, from Wanderer's to Old Hack's! This is why I love this place.

    I've nothing much to add, save a suggestion in accordance with those recommending a lot of reading. Consider getting yourself the latest Norton's Anthology of poetry. Read it cover to cover. If you get a chance, read about those poets as well, about their styles, what they were going for, what they believed they were achieving.

    The great thing about reading and studying poetry is not just the visceral appreciation and sheer joy of it, though you'll find that in abundance. But as with writers or artists of any discipline, it allows you to understand what's come before you. It gives you context and awareness of the continuum. I am certain there are wonderful poets and savants who can achieve greatness without that knowledge, but I think we're privileged to have it available to us.

    Good luck!
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  10. #10
    Gun in Mouth Blues bigb's Avatar
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    After you write a poem, don't read it for a month. Then post it in the crit section. I find that it will read differently, and I can edit it before putting up for crit. This makes the critique easier to understand. Just my thoughts, and I'm truly a hack.
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