Three tips for improving your poetry submission 0 Comments

Three tips for improving your poetry submission

Polishing a poem is hard. Just when you think you’ve finished the final draft you’ll give it a once-over and want to add a comma for pacing, or trim back an image you think could be sharper.

While there are no hard and fast rules about what makes a good submission, there are certainly some tactics that can strengthen your work. Here are my top three tips for improving your poetry before sending it to Voiceworks.

1) Trim back unnecessary words

Poetry is all about concision, which means the old saying “less is more” holds true. Too many unnecessary words can slow down the rhythm of your work and intimidate the reader by presenting them with a big chunk of text. Words to look out for and potentially cut are adjectives, adverbs and unnecessary articles (“a” and “the”).

2) Use strong verbs

I’m of the opinion that verbs make up the backbone of a poem—they are what drives the piece forward and have the ability to not just inform but startle and surprise. I always recommend poets use a really punchy verb to hook readers instead of using verbs that need an adverb for the same effect.

Another good idea is to use verbs in interesting or slightly unconventional ways (but not too unconventional). Everyone is used to hearing that the wind blows, but can it tickle, lick or swim? You can create such a different tone or atmosphere just by using a verb with a slightly different meaning.

3) Polish the beginning and ending of the poem

Tying up a poem can be just as tricky as starting it in the first place. It’s always a good idea to polish your beginning and ending because these sections are what will stick in the reader’s mind the longest.

Do you need to trim the first line of your poem in order to get to the imagery sooner? Does your final line or last few lines wrap up the poem and leave a lasting impression? Read your work aloud and ask a friend what they think.

By Broede Carmody

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