These tips will help you make an important transition as a poet:
- away from writing to celebrate, commemorate, or capture your own feelings (in which case you, the poet, are the center of the poem’s universe so you don’t need any tips from me)
- towards writing to generate feelings in your reader (in which case the poem exists entirely to serve the reader, and these tips will help you do that).
- Know Your Goal
- Avoid Clichés
- Avoid Sentimentality
- Use Images
- Use Metaphor and Simile
- Use Concrete Words Instead of Abstract Words
- Communicate Theme
- Subvert the Ordinary
- Rhyme with Extreme Caution
- Revise, Revise, Revise
The best way to become a better poet is to read more poetry. How do you read poetry at the college level? These videos will help.
Beginner: Phylis Wheatley’s On Being Brought from Africa to America
Intermediate: Sonnet 130, My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun
28 Nov 2000 (posted)
The Talk about Elections [election 2000 poetry]
In olden times, it could be decades before major events were cast in verse. But The Great 2000 Election Controversy is so big that all-star poets have come out of retirement to quickly set the story to rhyme….