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Monday, July 19, 2010

Research, Research - Even For Poems

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Write what you know!” but a professional approach might advise you to “Write what you know after you research to verify the accuracy of what you thought you knew!” Such care rates high in writing educational materials, Bible stories, poems, and poetic nonfiction, especially if you’ve been relying on what you learned or heard as a child.

Besides the importance of refreshing childhood memories and seeing familiar information from an adult perspective, poets and writers do well to look up every topic in an encyclopedia or dictionary. Then:

Research the age group, interests, goals, and hopes of your reading audience.

Find out what’s on the minds of your readers and other poets and writers by joining group discussions on social networks and following Favorites on Twitter, LinkedIn, Poets & Writers Community, Writers Digest Community, or Facebook.

Find accurate information on reputable websites such as those sponsored by educational associations, museums, universities, and the U. S. Government.

For a broad world view, scan the headlines of newspapers published in other regions and also other countries.

Visit your State Library online and sign in with the numbers on your local library card. This gives you immediate access to scholarly and popular journals for every age group of readers.

If you want to write for publication, research the poetry journals, e-zines, children’s magazines, and other markets who welcome poems. Study their writers' guidelines too.

And study poetry. On The Poetry Editor website - http://www.thepoetryeditor.com you will find the poet-friendly book, Poetry: Taking Its Course.

If you would like a private writing consult, edit, or critique of your poems, poetry book, book proposal, or children's picture book text, that's also available on The Poetry Editor website.


  1. I like your idea. Write what you know but check your facts. Or write what you know, not what you think you know. Maybe that's more poetic. At least more concise.

  2. Wow - I never would have thought that research could provide so much benefit to a poet. Great points!

  3. I haven't written a poem since 1993 - reading your blog has kind of tempted me, especially when you advise to look at headlines and literary journals. That's all I used to read back then. I published a collection in 1991. Since then I have concentrated on fiction. It offers someone like me more scope. Thanks for this blog.
    Rosanne Dingli

  4. Hi and thank you for sharing you valid information.

    I have used poems on my products