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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Poetry practice and constructive criticism will help you to help your poems

The purpose of The Poetry Editor website and this blog is to help you become your own best poetry editor. That might not happen right away, but if you’re serious about the work of a poet, which, yes, does involve work, you can do this! How? Study poetry. Write poetry. Read your poems aloud and listen for anything that seems “off.” Then correct that as you revise.

Getting feedback helps too. At first, most poets just want a pat on the back, but if you hope to be published, you’ll need more than cuddling or coddling. Do not, however, ask just anyone to read your poems! Select your first readers carefully from people you trust – family or friends who will give you positive criticism and be honest with you but also encouraging in their response.

You might find a poetry critique group in your area that you like too. If not, search the social networks for poetry groups that critique one another’s work. Besides receiving immediate online input, you will probably find at least one other poet whose comments you value and poems you like – someone you can relate to who’s willing to exchange a poem-in-progress with you, so you can comment on one another’s work privately.

Each of those options gives you free feedback to help you help your poems. This may be all you need to improve your poetry as you revise and also to gain confidence in submitting a batch of revised poems to one editor at a time.

But maybe you want more for yourself and your poetry. If so, enroll in a poetry class. Check out relevant ads on this blog that interest you. Order Poetry: Taking Its Course. Hire a professional poet, poetry editor, and/or poetry instructor to critique your poems, correct mistakes, and offer practical suggestions or workable solutions.

If you cannot afford to pay for the professional feedback you want, do not ask for free services. Not only is this disrespectful, but it’s very discouraging to published poets, editors, or instructors who work hard for other poets but are asked, over and over, to “make an exception” and provide professional services for no compensation whatsoever.

Although those services will not be free, the fees should be reasonably based on the amount of time, experience, and expertise involved in doing a critique or providing a writing consultation.

For most poets, a professional Critique will be the place to start. As you look through each page on The Poetry Editor website, notice the responses from other poets, editors, and poetry students. Notice the links to published poems. Notice the tips, resources, and services intended to help you research, study, write, revise, and eventually become your own best poetry editor.


  1. The only way I can write poetry is when I'm sad. Is that wierd or what?


  2. Hi, Shelly. No, it's not weird at all. People often begin writing poetry to express emotion, which can be healing and reason enough to write forever. If you want more though, read poems in anthologies, study your favorites, and keep on writing. Other subjects and moods will come.

  3. Do you still do a critique of a single poem for following?
    Your blog is wonderful! I have a hard time editing/revising my poetry. Thanks for all you're doing for poetry! God Bless!

  4. Thanks for your encouraging word, Amy. People from around the world kept asking me for free critiques of big batches of poems! So I stopped announcing a free online critique of a single poem for Followers of The Poetry Editor Blog, but yes, go ahead and email me your poem with “My Free Critique” in the email subject. I have another waiting for an online critique too, so bear with me. Thanks and blessings.