Jo from A Broad's Thoughts from Home has tagged me with an interesting poetry meme - list at least four things you think a beginning poet should attend to and four mistakes you think a poet should avoid. You can read Jo's answers here.
1. Experience poetry - read poetry blogs, read poetry books, read poetry journals, go to poetry readings and listen to other poets, listen to poetry on CD or online. Read poets who immediately appeal to you and try some of those who don't. (In the UK, second hand bookshops are great places to find poetry books, you can try new poets for as little as £1 a book). Absorb poetry so that it is part of you!
2. Think about poetry - write mini reviews on your blog, discuss with other poets about the poetry you like and why, read poetry actively, thinking about what works for you and what doesn't.
3. Write poetry - you may not like what comes out of your pen at first but keep writing!
4. Write with feeling, genuine emotion is one of the most powerful elements of poetry. However, restrain your passion so that it drives your poetry rather than swamping it.
5. Be specific - the more specific the details you're writing about, the more vivid the poem is for the reader.
6. Pay attention to craft - if you're writing formal verse, study the form and use it well. If you're writing free verse, pay attention to how words sound together and the rhythm of language. Otherwise what you're writing is just prose chopped up into short lines.
7. Revise your work, once you've written it, put it away for at least a day and then look at it again with a fresh eye. It's amazing how much polishing you can do with a fresh eye!
8. Share your poetry - post poetry on your blog; go to a poetry writing workshop; go to an open mic poetry reading and read some of your poetry; find some poetry journals (either online or in print) that you like, read them carefully (subscribe to some print journals!) and send some of your poetry there.
9. Listen to people's opinions of your work, most bloggers in the online poetry communities are polite and won't really criticise work unless you ask for it. Editors are more likely to give criticism, but they mean it constructively, listening to experienced readers and writers can help you to improve your writing - and you are allowed to ignore them if you disagree with what they say!
10. Join in some of the poetry communities online - such as Totally Optional Prompts, Read Write Poem, One Deep Breath (for haiku).
1. Don't feel you need to follow poetical fashion, there are enough poets out there trying desperately to show that they can follow. Be your own poet.
2. Don't expect to make money out of poetry. Some print journals pay but none pay much. Most poetry books don't sell many copies. Most poetry competitions don't give big cash prizes.
3. Don't be obscure. You can't expect all your readers to understand all your poetry but avoid being overly clever or obscure just for the sake of it. (The internet is great, you can make links to eg species of bird unique to your area to help readers from another country)
4. Don't be lazy about language - avoid cliches, archaic language, vagueness.
I tag: Whirling Dervish or Deb at Stoney Moss, Melissa at Poet with a Day Job, Darlene at Daisies and Tiel at Knocking from Inside.