ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Poetry That Doesn't Suck

Updated on November 18, 2015

Editing Poems for Improvement

The two biggest mistakes new poets make are either not editing at all or over editing. With practice, you'll eventually get a feel for when your poem is 'done'. Until you learn to do that, I'm going to give you some tips for improving your poetry through editing.

First Tip: Words you don't usually need.

Poetry will often sound better without excess articles and conjunctions. "Huh," you say? Articles are words such as the, that, an. Conjunctions are words such as and, but, until.

Should you run out and erase every one of these words from your poems? No. But you should ask yourself if you really need the article or conjunction when writing. Look at the two examples below.

EXAMPLE 1: Roses are red/ and violets are blue.

If you remove the 'and', it reads cleaner and has a more poetic feel. Change the line to Roses are red/Violets are blue and it automatically sounds better.

EXAMPLE 2: Roses are red/ the violets are blue.

In a poem, it's okay to read into the lines. If you remove the 'the' from Roses are red, the violets are blue , the lines means the same but its cleaner and has a better cadence. Read the two out loud and you will see the extra word throws the syllable off and puts an extra unneeded pause in the line.

Tip 2 Cliches are not your friend.

When you are writing fiction, cliches in dialogue aren't always a bad thing but in poetry it is a big no-no. Poetry is all about your personal experience, why would you use someone else's words to describe your experience?

Example 1: I loved her with all my heart.

I've heard this in a dozen bad romance movies but what does it actually mean? Poetry is about the personal experience. It's about the details. People will read this line and they won't pay attention to it because its what they expect. Cliches aren't absorbed by readers but rather skimmed over. You want readers to pause, a cliché doesn't do that.

Example 2: I loved her like fresh kitty litter.

Okay so that's not a great line but you stopped, didn't you? You paused and said 'What?'. Perhaps I loved her more than warm towels in winter. These two lines are personal...they mean something specific to the writer which will inspire the reader to know more.

The first example is so generic and overused in writing that it means very little.

Tip 3: The warning words.

Some words should only be used in poetry with extreme caution. Words like love, soul, love, heart, tear, misery and angel are so overused in poetry that these words have almost no impact on the reader. It's not that you can't use them, it's that you should only use them if you have to.

Example 1: My heart weeps.

Example 2: My soul is dying.

These two examples don't have the emotional impact you think they would have. It's like when you are fighting with someone who constantly says 'I'm going to kill you'. If they say it during every fight but never do anything about it, then the words don't have any impact on you or your behavior.

I'm not saying that you can never use these words. What I'm saying is that you need to use them carefully and with the full knowledge that they may hit your audience at a lukewarm temperature.

Tip 4: Never let anyone tell you never.

I'm not a poetry expert on your poetry. Robert Frost couldn't be an expert on your poetry either. Some reviewers of your poetry will try to rework your poetry to fit their personal style. While I recommend trying out new styles and types of poetry, it's still your personal work. If you want to pull an ee cummings and write everything in lowercase letters and with odd line breaks, do it. But if you do it, you have to do it purposefully. You have to stand behind it even when someone tries to rework your lines into four line stanzas.

Tip 5: Listen, Listen, Listen to Yourself

Record yourself or better yet have someone read and record your poem. Listening to your poems will let you know when lines break too abruptly, when your rhyme doesn't do the job or when your brilliant.

Tip 6: Read other poets.

Read classic poets, read new poets, listen to experimental poets. Try different styles out. You'll grow as a writer even when the form doesn't work for you.



A Rhyming Poem Sample

Sites to help with your poetry

There are so many fun things online with poetry now.

If you want feedback, you should try some poetry feedback sites such as TNBW or The Next Big Writer. Untlike sites such as Urbis or Forward Motion, you'll get more detailed poetry feedback with TNBW. But even if that site doesn't work for you, try out some free memberships on some sites. TNBW (www.thenextbigwriter.com) has a free reader membership, so does WDC (www.writing.com).

If you want more personal feedback, check out your local coffee shops and college campuses for live readings. Many times, the public is welcome to read their poems on open mic night.

But if you live in an isolated area such as myself, then check out the online poetry shows on BlogTalkRadio. Many of these shows have open mic nights where you can read your poems to dozens of people all over the world. All you need is an internet connection and free Skype Account or a cell phone with unlimited minutes. :)


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • franticsharpie profile image

      franticsharpie 

      6 years ago

      Very informative hub.

    • profile image

      Quin Finn 

      7 years ago

      Liking what I see. this can be quite useful for the novice writer. Some attention to detail is always a wise choice.

    • profile image

      Poem Stream 

      7 years ago

      I have to agree that some new poets don't always edit their work, thus it suffers as a result. I have found that in order for me to write effective poetry, I usually need to feel strongly about a topic. I also find it interesting that even though some individuals have read very little poetry, they still produce good work.

    • profile image

      ronald ouma 

      7 years ago

      thanks for the knowledge.. am graetful for it

    • kookoo88 profile image

      kookoo88 

      7 years ago from Cripple Creek

      Very useful hub. Thank you. :)

    • Tirzah Laughs profile imageAUTHOR

      Tirzah Laughs 

      7 years ago from USA

      Hi Aware, I did check out one of your poems. I'm a bit crammed at work lately but I'll try to stop in on a few more.

      Hey Ahorseback---I'm glad you found something useful.

    • Tirzah Laughs profile imageAUTHOR

      Tirzah Laughs 

      7 years ago from USA

      HI 2Patricias, the one thing that is different in prose dialogue is that cliches aren't always bad in dialogue.

      Thanks for stopping in!

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 

      7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      I don't write poetry, but I can see that your advice would also help with prose, especially writing dialogue.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 

      7 years ago

      Oh my , I learn something each day here.Great advice.

    • aware profile image

      aware 

      7 years ago from West Palm Beach Florida.

      Lot of good info here. I read this after reading a comment that you left in forum. You didn't condescend or chastise . You compassionately suggested correction with the intent to help someone realize their potential.At least that's how i see it.

      Ray

      P S I Will owe you one.If Checked out a couple of my poems. And help me better them. Just one ?. Please. My new one ?

    • Tirzah Laughs profile imageAUTHOR

      Tirzah Laughs 

      7 years ago from USA

      People make poetry too complicated. Yes it's an art but even artists learn how to mix paints and which brushes to use. You use those technical skills with your creative streak to make art. You can have the creative streak without help but if you don't learn technique, you'll never reach your potential.

      :)

      I'm glad it was clear. That's what I worry about. Clarity.

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 

      7 years ago from Australia

      This is a really useful, well thought out, commonsense approach to poetry that is a must read, sorry this whole sentence is chocker block, oops, with clichés, but they seem appropriate to me so i'll bare the consequences. Great hub thanks.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)