Friday, March 16, 2018
7 Steps to Becoming an Awesome Poet
Serious poets want to improve their level of writing, but how do you go about that? These steps will help:
Read a lot of poetry. Focus on the works of classical and contemporary poets, especially Pulitzer or Nobel prize-winning collections.
Study poetry forms and techniques. Poetry dictionaries, how-to articles, and my e-book on poetry writing will help you to expand your “tool box.” The more you know about poetry, the more you have to draw on as you write and revise your poems.
Revise. Let your own poems sit until you’ve forgotten what they say. Then read aloud and correct anything that seems off. Cut unnecessary words to compress the language and tighten the beat. If something has been said in the same way, change it up. Give it time. Make it new.
Use your good senses. Rather than relying on imagination to freshen up a poem, use your senses to note what you see, sense, smell, taste, feel, touch, and recall. Be specific. Notice details. Compare this to that in an unusual way.
Identify your strong suit. Then do something different! If imagery fills your poems, fine tune your poetic ear toward musicality. (You’ll hear this by reading each poem and revision aloud.) If you’re inclined to write rhythmic poems with end-line rhymes, break into free verse - and vice versa. If your poems take a full page, practice writing haiku. Long poems often have more than one focal point, which means you might have two or more poems in one.
Study poetry journals and anthologies to increase your publishing options. Look on the Internet for samples of poetry journals to discover ones you relate to and enjoy. If you like their work, they’ll be apt to like yours. Study individual websites to become familiar with favorite themes, style, tone, length, poetic forms, and other preferences of each publication you favor.
Get professional feedback from a poet and/or poetry instructor. That would be me! Start by selecting up to 5 pages of poems that best show your writing style and interests. Then send $25 by Paypal and email a Word or .doc file attachment of your poems to firstname.lastname@example.org. After we’ve discussed your poems and I’ve sent feedback, keep my suggestions in mind as you revise, not only this batch of poems, but also others you have written.
For a poetry book or chapbook you intend to self-publish, visit the Contacts & Critiques page of my website for fees and mailing information.
Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2018, poet-writer