Happy New Year friends, I would like to share with you my collection of tips for writing better poetry; things to keep in mind which may be of considerable help. I keep these in front of me to remind myself of the many things to consider when writing a poem. I also add new tips to this collection as I come across them. In fact, so I do not misplace them, I framed them. They now stand on my desk in good sight, next to the computer.
I hope these might be of use to you as well as you move into the New Year.
In writing better poetry
1. Use vivid verbs, ones that evoke vivid mental images.
2. Use sparingly: prepositions, adverbs, adjectives and conjunctions.
3. “No good poem makes common sense. The essence of a good poem is the uncommonness of the sense it makes.”
4. Passionate precision inspires readers.
5. Use active adjectives: the “dancing” portraits on the wall, the “staring” ceiling, etc.
6. Use strong words
7. Splash colors, odors, textures
8. Make sure your poem feels right and then polish it.
9. Always have an editor
10. Be bold.
11. The first lines are very important (the leader): “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”
12. Poems should surprise!
13. Use hard sounds for hard objects and ideas and soft sounds for soft objects and ideas.
14. Can it be said “a better way”
15. A good poem moves in surprising ways, taking us to places we did not expect, avoiding the predictable.
I hope you have a beautiful Christmas. Here is my Christmas gift for you. It is an ode; a form used by many poets including
. This is in written in free verse, following Pablo Neruda Neruda’s example (he uses many metaphors) in his collection “Ode to Common Things”
Note: Liz sent this post before Christmas, but due to our schedule, it didn't get posted until today. My apologies to Liz that we missed you before Christmas, but I'm sure your tips will be just as valuable to our readers today and that they will appreciate your Christmas greetings despite the tardy delivery.
Ode to Christmas Tree Ornaments
To you, I sing
Oh Christmas tree ornaments
As you tenuously cling
To your tinsel-tossed hooks.
Like golden garlands
You rise and fall.
Like air-show planes
You lift and stall,
And settle down
On fat green boughs.
Your brilliant bellies
Are delicate mirrors
And table lamps.
You are rainbow drops,
You are lollipops,
Encircling the stalk.
You are hot air balloons
Engaged in a rally
Above the soft rug;
A round lighted valley.
You cranberry strings
Are red salmon eggs
Trapped in towering,
And you ornaments of old
Are bold little ghosts:
Tarnished glass cherries,
And sepia-tinged fairies.
You speak of childhood,
In innocence, you are cast.
You are vibrant reminders
Of Christmases past.
Note: Liz sent this post before Christmas, but due to our schedule, it didn't get posted until today. My apologies to Liz that we missed you before Christmas, but I'm sure your tips will be just as valuable to our readers today.
Liz Mastin Bio
Liz Mastin is a poet who lives in Coeur d’ Alene,
Idaho during the summer and in winter. She thrives on the study of the great poets, their biographies, the schools of poetry to which they adhered, and the poetic conventions of the times in which they lived. Bullhead City, Arizona
While she enjoys free verse as well as metrical poetry, her main interest lies in prosody. She notices that most of the enduring poems are those we can remember and recite. Liz enjoys poetry forms such as the sonnet, the sestina, the couplet, blank verse, simple quatrains, etc. and she hopes to see modern poets regain interest in studied metrical poetry.
Liz is currently putting together her first collection of poems which should be completed this winter. The poems are a mixture of metrical and free verse poems.