Improving Your Poetry
Five of the most destructive mistakes in poetry
The following are five of the most destructive mistakes in poetry. These errors will do enough harm to your verse that no amount of formal perfection will counteract.
You start strong with a first line both subtle and striking; however, in an effort to create closure you write an obvious, heavy-handed...
Should I put a period at the end of every line in my poem?
Q: My question is about punctuation. Should I put a period at the end of every line in my poem? —Pointed Problem
A: This is a tricky question. First off, you can think of poetry as following the same rules of punctuation as prose. Put periods at the ends of sentences (complete thoughts that have a subject and verb), whether or not those...
Is there any way to make title-brainstorming easier?
Q: I have no trouble writing poems (my journals are full of them) but my titles are the worst! Is there any way to make title-brainstorming easier? —Harried Headlines
A: Sometimes finding the right title for a poem can be the hardest step of the writing process. An easy solution is to use a memorable line from the beginning or ending...
Several years ago, most people never dreamed of becoming published authors. The few who did had an uphill battle to climb. Traditional publishing has always been a difficult market to break into for several reasons. In general, after completing a book, an author might spend years trying to find a literary agent who will be interested...
Avoiding the Dilution of Art with Sentiment
These poets follow their own muses and compose topical poetry on various themes with great skill. However, when given a subject or theme, some poets disregard what they themselves would normally require of their opinions on the matter prosaically, as though they were simply to offer an opinion on some...
Who Are Our Winners, How Are They Chosen, and Where Are They Found?
So what kind of people enter amateur poetry contests? Here at Eber & Wein Publishing, we have discovered that just about every kind of person in fact enters our contests. We receive poetry from five-year-olds, ninety-five year olds, and of course everyone in between. Our participants are grade school students, college students,...
Any advice for beginner poets, and what’s the deal with capitalization?
Q. I love to write (mostly journaling and short stories) and just started writing poetry within the last year or so. Any advice for beginner poets? Juliette, Dayton, OH
A. Absolutely! Pay a visit to your local library or bookstore and delve into books of poetry by accomplished poets. Familiarize yourself...
Is there still a place today for poetic rhyme?
Q. It seems that rhyming poetry seldom exists anymore. I love to rhyme but am often “teased” for it (good-naturedly of course!). Is there still a place today for poetic rhyme? Marian, Grand Canyon, AZ
A. Honestly, today it really is a matter of personal preference. At the turn of our century...
Useful insight into the publishing process
In my years as an editor, I have encountered countless authors and poets with stories to tell. Whether teachers, parents, salesmen, mechanics or musicians, I’ve learned that writers come in all forms, and their experiences are as unique as the books they have produced. Having been through the self-publishing process from start to...
Is there any way to “jumpstart” a poem?
Q. How do I start a poem? I have a lot of ideas and feelings but get overwhelmed. Is there any way to “jumpstart” a poem? —Mercedes, Roseville, MN
A. Yes, there are actual “tricks of the trade” to start the writing process. First, it goes without saying, as writers, we are...