How to Write Prose Poetry: Ten Tips To Tighten Your Poems
The Art of Poetry Writing: Ten Tips for Tighter Prose Poetry
Many an aspiring poet, in a vain attempt to produce cutting edge poetry, merely imitates its form, disguising his own bland prose by simply breaking it up into bite-sized chunks of nearly unpalatable verse. But a poem is not a matrix designed for filling up with words like so many peas in a pan. Indeed, writing poetry is the art of creating the most impact using the least amount of words. And as it's density dictates, a poem must be slowly savored and digested in order to fully satisfy the malnourished soul.
Ten Tips For Tighter Poetry:
- Read published poets past and present. Emulate their techniques. Employ their habits.
- Use vivid verbs. I guarantee higher quality writing, or I’ll double your refund of linking verbs. “To be’ or not to be?” If that is the question (when it comes to verbs) then a resounding,“NOT to be,” has to be my final answer.
- Remember, ‘Redundant’ rhymes with ‘Repugnant.’ Don’t repeat yourself. Dare to delete yourself. A writer’s thesaurus should have more mileage than Marty McFly’s Delorean.
- Fearlessly face that first abysmal draft, and lose anything that compromises or dilutes your intended meaning. If you wind up staring down at five measly words on the page, don’t despair. You've just mined the raw diamond from the dusty mind. Now cut it and polish it until it sparkles with linguistic clarity and shines with poetic brilliance.
- Revise Ruthlessly. No respectable poem ever galloped to a photo finish without a few practice runs around the track. . Even Secretariat had a trainer. With poetry, economy is key. Less is more. Never compromise when you can revise and revise and revise.
- Establish a theme. It’s your message to the world. Writing a poem with no inner theme is like buying a Rolex with no inner works. It’s a complete waste of time.
- Employ poetic device. A poem devoid of imagery seems as naked and lifeless on the page as a cold cadaver stretched out on an autopsy table.
- Strive to be unique. The human condition is universal and the pool of poetic subject matter and its accompanying sentiment has been waded through more than a New York puddle. A good poet knows how to blow fresh steam into an old theme.
- Avoid clichés. Like literary weeds, you’ll be surprised how often and how easily they creep into your writing. Root them up and yank them out before they choke all those freshly planted poetic ponderings.
- Grow a thicker skin. Embrace constructive criticism from a trusted source, and be skeptical of those offering nothing but praise. Either they know zilch about poetry, or they’re related to you by blood or marriage. In other words, don’t ask mom.
With these tips in mind, you'll be producing engaging pieces bulging with strong images and identifiable themes, not murky masses of meandering messes. Writing decent poetry is never easy, but the serious poet aspires to greater heights, seeking honest feedback in an effort to avoid artistic stagnation. A serious poet is never truly satisfied.
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© 2010 susan beck
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