Text messaging and social networking probably have not helped poets and writers with their grammar or spelling, but an advantage comes in practicing brevity. That trait alone can improve your poems and also short manuscripts such as a children’s story or picture book. Condensing lines and cutting out superfluous words or unnecessary content can be the thing most needed to make your poem or poetic manuscript better than good.
Other aspects of editing and revising your work have been and, Lord willing, will continue to be addressed on this blog and on The Poetry Editor website, so check out prior postings and articles. Also, study the online critiques on The Poetry Editor Blog to help you identify and correct problems in your own poems.
If you Follow this blog, you can copy and paste one poem up to 25 lines in a plain text email entitled “My Free Critique” and send that with your name to firstname.lastname@example.org for a free online critique. Those of you who have a different sign-in name need to say so, but be sure to include the name you want to identify with the poem.
Whether you receive a public, online critique or private input, The Poetry Editor website and blog have the same goal: To help poets and writers become The Poetry Editor for their own poems and poetic manuscripts. This can be difficult at first, but as with anything, you will get better with practice. Also, the more poetry – and how-to’s on poetry – that you read, the more objective you will become about your own work.
For example, see “What Poetry Editors Hope To See In Poetry,” on http://marysayler.blogspot.com/2009/12/what-poetry-editors-hope-to-see-in.html. Also, “How To Wear A Poem” might give you some usable ideas and a brief overview of poetry - http://marysayler.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-wear-poem.html - which brings us back to the poetic practice of brevity.
To get into practice:
Try your hand at haiku, couplets, or poems for tweets and text-messages.
Brutally cut to the quick a long poem that has not placed with an editor of a journal or e-zine, and see what happens. Did the cuts wound or improve?
Analyze each phrase, each line of each poem.
Omit clichés, favorite expressions, and repeated thoughts.
Put each poem aside until you forget what it says.
Come to each revision with a clear head and fresh eye or ear.
Pretend someone else wrote the poem, then see what needs changing.
If you read each poem and each revision aloud, you can usually hear what needs changing too.
Be honest with yourself.
Be honest with your poems.
Let your poems speak for themselves and speak well for you.
You can do this!
You can be The Poetry Editor for your poetry.
U B UR own best ed.
If you need a practiced opinion, you know where to find me. For a private critique of your poems, chapbook, book of poems, or other poetic manuscript, look for the option that best suits your needs on The Poetry Editor website – http://www.thepoetryeditor.com.