The 8 Best Tips To Improve Your Poetry
If you’re considering writing poetry or are looking to improve, check out these tips to get you going.
If you’re considering writing poetry or are looking to improve, then like any craft, you have to expand and add more skills to your repertoire. Writing can be enlightening and free, yet exhausting and scary — allow these 8 tips to help guide you along the way.
- Read the work of a variety of poets. The simplest way to improve your poetry is to read poems. You may be familiar with great poets like William Wordsworth, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson but less familiar with contemporary poets and new poems. Part of becoming a better poet is constantly finding new poetry collections and reading contemporary literary magazines to expose yourself to new voices. There’s no harm in revisiting your favorite poems by great poets in an old poetry book, but part of becoming a better writer is finding new literary journals and expanding your poetry reading to include young poets and diverse voices.
- Experiment with a different poetic form. There are many different types of poetry available to you. Even if there is a specific type of poem that you consider your bread and butter, it’s worth experimenting with different poetry forms. Try writing a short poem like a haiku. Write a longer narrative poem in free verse. Write a few quick nursery rhymes. Playing with form can help you build your poetry writing skills and find new types of poetry that fit your style.
- Keep a journal. Poetry is a powerful medium when it comes to using lyrical language and expressing poignant imagery. Keeping a journal can help you catalog particularly striking images and thoughts as they occur to you throughout your day. Free moments can give you a chance to brainstorm and jot down your thoughts in your poetry journal.
- Simplify word choice. As a first-time poet, it can feel as if you have to use exclusively abstract words and flowery language in order to write a complex verse and convey a deeper meaning. The fact of the matter is that sometimes the simplest language combined with clear, concrete images can make for a good poem. Some of the best American poets use concrete words and simple language in order to construct poignant and affecting poetry. There’s no need to rely on a thesaurus to find the right words for your poems. If you find yourself overwriting, scale back your language, and focus on a clear and concise verse.
- Edit. As with other forms of writing, good poetry is often found in the edit. Once you’ve finished a draft of a poem, give yourself some time before giving it a second pass and beginning the rewriting process.
- Remember, there are no rules. There are no set rules in poetry. Give yourself the freedom to explore your craft and play with meaning and form. Don’t hold yourself back or worry about the final product. Some of your best work will come when you feel unconstrained and free to play.
- Join a writing group. Joining a writing group with other poets can help you commit to the hard work of writing and establish a consistent writing practice. A poetry writing class or group can help keep you accountable and help you break through writer’s block. Writing groups are a great resource for meeting other poets who can help connect you with publishing industry contacts and literary agents. A Writers Business has created a community of great advice and support for up-and-coming poets and writers, see how you can join today.
- Explore other types of creative writing. Writing poems doesn’t prevent you from exploring other forms of writing. Supplement your poetry writing with nonfiction essays and short stories in your free time. This will help your writing stay fresh and active and can also be a great way of adding additional writing income.