So you want to write poetry. It might seem simple. Just throw some rhymes together and hope for the best. But poetry can be an incredibly complicated exercise in not only saying what you want to say but ensuring your audience understands your message. Here are some quick and simple poetry tips for making your writing stronger and improving your poetry.
Don’t Expect Your Audience to Read Your Mind
Many beginning poets think that throwing flowery language around with some obscure symbols that they understand but no one else does is a great way to write a poem. When you see pieces like this:
you never cared about my placard,
you always formed opinions on roast beef without asking me first
The reader has no idea what’s going on in these lines. The narrator seems upset about someone not eliciting their opinions and caring about things that are important to them, but roast beef and placards? What do those objects mean within this poem? How is the audience to know?
Don’t Make Each Poem an Epic Length
Sometimes saying what you need to say in as few words as possible is the most difficult form of poetry at all. Other poems need to be longer to accommodate a story or more complex ideas. But being able to edit your poem and prune back the phrases and lines that are already established can strengthen your work and keep your audience enraptured. When it comes to open mics and readings, no audience members wants to sit through a 30 minute poem that simply says the same thing over and over again.
Don’t Assume You Know Everything there is about Poetry
Simply put: you don’t. No one does. Never stop attending lectures, workshops, readings, and hitting your local library for new poetry books by a variety of authors. Nothing is more disheartening to see than someone who has great potential decide they don’t need to hone their craft.