Top Tips for Editing Poetry

While poets love the actual art of writing, the tedious nature of editing poetry turns many people off.

To summarize a more profane statement, Ernest Hemingway once said that the first draft of anything is not very good. All writers realize this unfortunate truth, but to showcase your best work, spending time with revisions is the only way to produce content worth submitting into poetry contests.

Remove Redundanciesediting poetry

Since writing is an art form, poets can sometimes feel like they are censoring themselves or not staying true to who they are when they make edits to their work. While this is understandable, it’s important to realize that very few people are able to create a masterpiece in one attempt. In poetry contests, you only have so many words to paint a picture for an audience, and it’s important that each word matters. An issue that may seem unnoticeable but that can really hurt a poet’s work is the use of redundancies. For example, you would not need to tell an audience that the Statue of Liberty is tall, or that a toddler is small. People are able to naturally picture these two images as being tall and small respectively, so it does not add to your work to include these extra words. When editing poetry, pay close attention to details that seem redundant or aren’t necessary to a story. Sometimes less is more, and as you know, each word in a poetry contest is important. Don’t get too tied into avoiding redundancies in the first draft, as you are just trying to create a foundation for your poem. You will need to carefully edit redundancies during your revisions, however. 

Creating a Picture for the Reader

Those who write poetry are often troubled by whether they should be as descriptive and straightforward as possible, or let the audience use their imagination to create an image through a metaphor. You will need to evaluate your story to determine if an actually statement is more appropriate, or if your poem seems more natural with a metaphor. For poetry contests, you can use a mix of both, but make sure you do it at appropriate times. Any poem with straightforward statements can quickly become boring, but too many metaphors can make a writer seem lazy and put too much work on the reader. When editing poetry, it’s the poets’ job to find a balance.

Avoid Boring Writing

Poetry contests are about originality, and judges and readers will overlook unoriginal storylines or endings. Your poetry is your story, and it’s important to remain true to your vision. Showcase your poems through your perspective, and don’t try to write what you think people want to read. People connect with authentic experiences, and readers of poetry love being transported to worlds that seem familiar but they might not have experience in. This is your chance to showcase your uniqueness and standout as an individual.

When you edit poetry for contests, remember to remove redundancies, strike a balance in how you present the story through descriptions and metaphors and most of all, avoid being boring!

If you like what you write, consider submitting it to our poetry contest and show your work to the world!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 12th, 2015 at 7:36 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.