Tips Thread

How many poets does it take to change a light bulb?

Tips Thread

Postby Antcliff » Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:43 pm

The idea of this thread is that people mention ONE small something they do...or think they should...in their poetry that makes it better. Or at least sometimes does.

No manifestos.
Detail.
Minutiae welcome.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur
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Re: Tips Thread

Postby bodkin » Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:25 pm

Edit electronically, keep half finished poems more-or-less forever, keep coming back, tweak, adjust... eventually you hit a moment where you realise how to make it gel...
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Re: Tips Thread

Postby Ros » Fri Nov 25, 2016 10:54 pm

A cracking last line can cover a multitude of sins.

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Re: Tips Thread

Postby k-j » Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:20 am

Drink responsibly.
fine words butter no parsnips
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Re: Tips Thread

Postby Macavity » Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:49 am

Remove the best line of a poem to test out the rest.
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Re: Tips Thread

Postby Crayon » Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:12 pm

Antcliff wrote:The idea of this thread is that people mention ONE small something they do...or think they should...in their poetry that makes it better. Or at least sometimes does.

No manifestos.
Detail.
Minutiae welcome.


Hey, that's THREE somethings! But I shall try each of them.
Last edited by Crayon on Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tips Thread

Postby Ros » Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:24 pm

Dive in at the middle. Don't write a couple of verses of scene setting.
Rosencrantz: What are you playing at? Guildenstern: Words. Words. They're all we have to go on.
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Re: Tips Thread

Postby Crayon » Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:29 pm

Ros wrote:Dive in at the middle. Don't write a couple of verses of scene setting.


That's a screenwriting rule, too: come in late; leave early.
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Re: Tips Thread

Postby bodkin » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:40 am

Crayon wrote:
Ros wrote:Dive in at the middle. Don't write a couple of verses of scene setting.


That's a screenwriting rule, too: come in late; leave early.


Similarly, if you've got most of the content together but it isn't gelling, try changing the order. Put the end at the beginning or vice-versa...
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Re: Tips Thread

Postby Firebird » Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:30 pm

1) Many good poems started their life as bad ones. Writing poetry is very much a process.

2) Read more good poetry than bad poetry. Both can rub off on you.
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Re: Tips Thread

Postby bodkin » Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:36 am

Read your work out loud to yourself, anything that doesn't feel right needs editing...

(I originally said it had to feel like "normal speech" but this may not be true if you deliberately adopted a contrived style -- 95% of the time it's a bloody good guideline, however!)
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Re: Tips Thread

Postby bodkin » Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:47 am

(Sorry, I'm monologuing here.)

If you have been workshopping for a while and you, or others, start saying they preferred the original, sometimes you get a sense of having over-edited the piece...

I this case it can be useful to put the latest and original versions side-by-side and build a new one that draws the best from each.

Ian

p.s. also this is the moment to really embrace "can't please everybody" :-)
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Re: Tips Thread

Postby oggiesnr » Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:01 pm

Compare your finished (if you ever get there) copy with your first version and ask yourself "What have I gained, what have I lost?" Too often I find my "finished" version reads better but says less than my first thoughts.

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Re: Tips Thread

Postby Macavity » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:50 pm

A personal one, and there are plenty of published poems that do this, but I think it weakens a line by ending on a/the/and.
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Re: Tips Thread

Postby Macavity » Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:22 am

A link shared on another forum that I found relevant:

http://danagioia.com/essays/writing-and ... etic-line/
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