9 June 2014

NYWM: Day 9

There has been a lot of focus on novel writing lately, so we thought we’d change it up by giving a shout out to all the blossoming poets out there. With that said, today we will be talking about how to edit your poetry piece.

But before we go on, if you’re unsure whether or not poetry is for you, take a look at this list of different types of poetry out there and see what tickles your fancy.

Editing a poem is a lot more difficult than editing a unpublished manuscript. This is because you need to pay more attention to the analysis stage of the editing, that is, the structure of the poem, the themes present, and whether or not there is consistent flow throughout the entire piece.

The first stage should be reading the poem back to yourself, and this should be done aloud. We emphasise this because while it may sound plausible when silently read, it may actually sound obnoxious when read out loudly. At the same time, reading aloud makes it easier to spot mistakes in your poem, because if you can’t read it back smoothly without getting tongue tied, then something is clearly wrong. What could be wrong with your poem can be several things – the pace may not match, words may not rhyme, or the consistency in syllables may be incorrect. Nonetheless, reading aloud helps with all of this, which is why we highly recommend doing it.

Furthermore, have a thesaurus with you at all times. Unfortunately, our brains can only remember so many words before we’re driven to insanity, so a thesaurus is a good fallback option if you’re ever at a loss with what to say.

What separates a good poem from a great poem is the imagery present throughout the piece. Imagery creates interpretation for the poem, but remember that the imagery has to be consistent. Now we’re not saying have one main image (because that can be boring and pedestrian), we’re talking multiple imageries that all relate to each other in some way or another that then enhance the overall theme or message you are trying to convey to your audience through your poem.

And last but not least, have someone else read it aloud and see what they think. Yes, we’re well aware that your written piece is practically your baby, but as writers one of the best ways to improve is by getting feedback and even some occasional tough love.

Best of luck poets!

If you’re struggling on rhyme, check out this online rhyming thesaurus – it literally finds other words that rhyme with the word in your poem. Convenient much?

Need more hints and tips? Have a read of this article entitled ‘7 Tips for Editing Poetry’ by Power Poetry.

Opportunities and events

We’re always on the lookout for writers to be featured as part of NYWM. If you’re happy to answer a few questions about you and your writing, please fill out this form.

The Queensland Poetry Festival are currently accepting submissions for their ‘Arts Queensland Val Vallis Award for an Unpublished Poem’ and their ‘Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize for an Unpublished Manuscript’. If you’re a young poet or emerging novel writer looking for a good challenge, this may be it! More details about both competitions are here.

If you’re looking to hone your poetry skills then the Australian Poetry have online courses and workshops now open. Read more about them or enroll here.

“Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” – Rita Dove