And fill it with, well, advice? For instance: Use concrete details. Concrete details are real things, like the shape of a rock, whether it looks like Ned Flanders' head, a raisin, a frisbee, whatever. Concrete descriptions are things that the reader can actually see and turn around in their head. They can grab onto and ride through the ideas in your poem with. Concrete details are the heart and soul of keeping a reader reading. or: Try rooting your poem in a scene. This isn't always necessary, but if things are happening, it's almost always a lot more interesting, because bad things could happen, good things could happen... it adds tension to the poem. Tension is a good thing. It keeps people reading. or: A poem isn't a fact checked autobiography. If you start a poem based on real life, it doesn't have to exactly mirror what actually happened. Usually the more interesting, better poems start with what happened, then veer off into what could've happened, either in the speculative, or just have the speaker (ie the character the poem is about, who is not you) write it as if it happened. It's not lying, because people understand (or need to come to understand) that poetry is poetry, not creative non fiction with line breaks. or: Don't just offer praise when you reply to a piece. Criticism is the wheel which turns the literary world. If no one tells you what's wrong with a piece, chances are you'll never know to fix it, and everyone who reads it will choke on thos places of a poem. Maybe be nice when you word it (something I've strayed away from on this board because most, it seems, only want that pat on the back which is increasingly frustrating), but be strong when you point out your opinions so they're not as easily brushed off by the poet afraid to kill his darling. or: If you've seen it before, find a new way to come at your poem. Avoid cliches, like a rose as your love, or a single tear. If you've heard it before, that means that more than likely, other people have too. Be original. Come up with your own similies and metaphors, your own little turns of phrase. or: Microsoft Word has spellcheck. Use it. People (in the real world) don't take you seriously if there're spelling errors, punctuation errors, grammar errors. or: Buy Elements of Style, and learn how to use a comma. They probably have plenty of guides online that explain it pretty well too. Punctuation isn't just 'throw it wherever you want' in poetry. The same rules apply, unless you do away with punctuation all together, then you need to be really good at what you do, like WS Merwin. or: Don't mix your metaphors. If you start a metaphor about your lines of poetry being like lines of cocaine, don't have the next line be about fishing with your lines of poetry... then your lines are simultaneously cocaine and fishing line, which is just silly and confusing... though the fish may get a kick out of it. Add on, start a new more official thread, whatever, but people need to be able to see these tips, because it seems, at least, that no one's ever told a lot of the writers on the board this.