Poetry essay: Improving your poetry

As you write poetry, at some point you might look to improve your work.  Maybe you feel your poems could have more impact.  Maybe your poetry isn’t getting the response you want.  Maybe you feel like you’re not getting your message across.

As you look to improve the poetry you write, there are some things you can do.  Here are a few:

Read more poetry

One way to get better at writing poetry is to read more poetry.  The more poetry you read, the more ideas, forms, techniques, and so forth you will encounter.  As you read, you can pick up on things and improve your own work.

Analyze poems

As you read poetry, you might take some time to analyze what you are reading.  Think about why you like a poem or don’t.  Think about what makes a poem effective or not.  If you take notes, and read enough poems from different poets, you might start to see trends.  You could find that you think certain attributes make poems good and others don’t.  At some point you could even make a list of the qualities of a good poem.

Analyze your own poetry

As you spend time analyzing the poems of others, you should also spend time analyzing your own work.  Look back over poems you wrote and think about them.  Think about their effectiveness and impact.  As you do, you could discover trends in your own work.  You could find things that you think work and others that you think don’t.

Write more poems

Although your goal is quality, one way to move toward it is with quantity.  The more poems you write, the more chances you have to use ideas, forms, metaphors, symbols, literary devices, and so forth.  The more you practice, the better you will get.

Experiment

As you write more poems you might try to experiment.  Write about ideas you haven’t before.  Use forms you don’t normally use.  Try different techniques.  As you do, you can pick up on things that work for you and things that don’t.  You can use what you learn to improve your work.

Study poetry

In addition to reading, writing, and thinking about poetry, you might also try studying poetry.  There are books on poetics that you can read.  You can learn about poetry techniques, poetry over time, poetry in relation to other things, and other ideas.  By studying poetry you can learn things that can help with your writing of it.

Research

One way to improve the poetry you write is through research.  The more you understand about the something, all else being equal, the better you can write about it.  Depending on what you are writing about, go places, find people who are experiencing the thing, experience the thing yourself, or read books about the thing.  You might find that by doing so, you pick up on ideas and details that you never thought of.

Get feedback

Find people to critique your poetry.  This might be through comments on a blog, at writing groups, with friends, and in other situations.  See how others perceive what you write.  Find out what made sense to them and what didn’t.  Find out what ideas they picked up on and which they missed.  You can use what you find out to improve your work.

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