They had a similar thread here before and I thought it was a good idea, so i did a search for writing tips and found this had the best ideas/info/etc. have fun, peace and blessings -freya Poetry Writing Tips An article by John Hewitt Note: These are my personal poetic guidelines. I don't guarantee they will work for everybody, and even I will break the rules whenever I feel like it. There are even some contradictions. Take what you like and forget the rest. A poem with Love in the title (Or Destiny, Hate, or other HUGE themes) already has two strikes against it. (And I like love poems.) The bigger your point, the more important the details are. Say what you want to say, let the reader decide what it means. Don't explain EVERYTHING. Poems that focus on form (Sonnet, Villanelle, etc.) are rarely my favorites, but most of my favorite poets learned how to write in forms before they discarded them. Writing in form is a challenge. It makes you think. People will remember an image long after they've forgotten why it was there. If you write a bad poem, at least you wrote. Develop your voice. Get comfortable with how YOU write. Don't be afraid to write from a different point of view. Write a poem that says exactly the opposite of what you believe, and do it without irony. When you can't write, lie on the floor a while. (Thank you Jon Anderson) Untitled poems are lazy. They're like unnamed children. Obviously their parent doesn't care about them. Write in different places. Keep a notebook. Write in a park or on a street-corner or in an alley. You don't HAVE to write about the place, but it will influence you whether you do or not. Listen to talk radio while you write. Listen to the people who call. Great characters and voices emerge that way. If you don't like a poem or poet, figure out exactly why. Chances are, it reflects something you don't like about your own poetry. When nothing is coming, start writing very fast-- any word, phrase or sentence that comes to mind. Do that for about a minute, then go back to your poem. (I call this flushing.) Whether to use anything you flushed is up to you. You can, but that's not the purpose. The more you read, the more you learn. The more you write, the more you develop. Make a list of poems you can remember specific lines from. Go back and read those poems. Figure out why they stuck with you. There are many excuses not to write. Try using writing as an excuse not to do other things. Keep a dream journal. Dreams are your mind at it's most creative so listen to it. Don't feel you have to write a poem ABOUT your dreams. If you want to, fine, but the main goal is to see what thoughts the dreams lead you to. Subscribe to poetry journals. Give back to the poetry community by reading (and paying for) the works of others. If you don't, what right have you to expect others to do it for you? When nothing is coming for you, try analyzing someone else' s poems. (Or even one of yours) Figure out what works, what doesn't work, and why. Think about what you would have done differently. Use humor, irony, and melodrama, just don't abuse them. Write the worst poem you can possibly write. Use cliché's, pretentious words, and beat your reader over the head with your point. Felt good, didn't it? Now get back to work. The point is, don't be afraid to write a bad poem. If it takes a hundred bad poems before you can produce a poem you like, fine, get that hundred out of the way. Dirty limericks can be fun too. That one perfect line in a thirty line poem may be what makes it all worthwhile, or it may be what makes the rest of the poem bad. Keep an eye on it. Every great poet has written a bad poem, probably dozens or hundreds, possibly thousands. They kept writing though, and so should you. Every line of a poem should be important to the poem, and interesting to read. A poem with only 3 great lines should be 3 lines long. Poems should progress. There should be a reason why the first stanza comes before the second, the second before the third, and so on. Listen to criticism, and try to learn from it, but don't live or die by it. When I was in college, I would always take my best reviewed poem from the previous class and submit it for review in the next. Invariably, the next professor hated the poem, and could provide good reasons why it failed. When you write a good poem, one you really like, immediately write another. Maybe that one poem was your peak for the night or maybe you're on a roll. There's only one way to find out. Follow your fear. Don't back away from subjects that make you uncomfortable, and don't try to keep your personal demons off the page. Even if you never publish the poems they produce, you have to push yourself and write as honestly as possible. Submit your poems. Sooner or later you have to send your babies out into the world to find their way. Emily Dickinson was a fluke, most people who don't publish while they're alive will never be seen or heard of -- no matter how good their poems.