Writing Innovative Poetry

Writing innovative poetry, the kind of poetry that reputable literary journals publish, entails knowing exactly what each word of a poem does to the reader. A good poem should be evocative, skillful, and cohesive, but before attempting to hone these attributes, a potential poet should be knowledgeable of the various forms and attributes of contemporary poetry. A good way to become familiar with the aspects of contemporary poetry is to take classes, join writing workshops, and subscribe to contemporary literary journals. Reading and understanding good poetry is vital to being able to write good poetry.

The first phase of writing a good poem includes a process of brainstorming. There are various ways to approach this process, but after a good deal of experimentation, the poet will find the one that works best for his or her personal style. Some poets will begin this process by actually writing a poem. Other poets will write prose or notes until he or she spots something that could be developed into a poem. The most important concept to consider with regard to this first phase is to write fearlessly. Write without trying to sound poetic, avoid abstractions, and be as detailed as possible. Write what is on your mind without worrying too much about grammar, literary devices, and line breaks. Often, when a person engages is this type of free writing, he or she will naturally write in some sort of rhythm or pattern. It is in the next phase of writing that these natural literary finesses are smoothed out and heightened.

The next stage of writing involves looking for a shape within the words that have been freely written. Read the words out loud, paying careful attention to phrases and words that leave an indelible impression. Then, prune some of the language by omitting unnecessary lines and hackneyed expressions, such as "I walk this lonely path," or, "My heart cries out." A good poem is going to have fresh images and is going to offer unique perspectives. If you find hackneyed or overly abstract expressions in your writing that are pertinent to the overall theme of your piece, try rewriting them using language that has never been used before to describe these situations or feelings. Also, pay attention to whether your poem is telling its message to the reader or if it is showing the message through unique images. An example of telling would be, "I am sad and lonely." An example of showing would be, "I fall into his empty chair, listlessly holding his photograph?"

Once you have found the shape of your poem and reworked the language to include fresh images, you will need to read it out loud. Listen to the line breaks. Listen to the actual language. Ask yourself whether the line breaks are appropriate. Are there abrupt words dangling at the ends of any lines? Do you have conjunctions or prepositions trailing at the ends of your lines? If so, you might need to rework the lines, and at times, you may need to reword entire lines. This stage also includes getting constructive criticism from writers or poetry enthusiasts who will be objective with their feedback. You can look for or start a poetry critique group in your local area, or you can join one of the many critique forums and workshops online. This part of the process can be the most difficult for new poets who are not accustomed to having someone digging around in their creative endeavors with a scalpel. Understand that even incredibly well crafted poems will get their fair share of comments from the critics. Also, adhere to your intentions. If a critic misreads your piece, it could very well mean that you need to rework your piece within your own aim.

Finally, after having written your poetry with the knowledge and understanding you have gained through classes and reading, and after having reworked and submitted your piece for critique, you are ready for your final draft. Your final draft is not a final product. Your final draft is what all your hard work so far has produced, but you will need to read it again, possibly a day, a month, sometimes even years after you've written it.

When there is nothing more to prune, add, or change to the poem, you may consider submitting it to one of the literary journals you have subscribed to when you first began your journey as a good poet.

Devrie Paradowski has been published by several literary journals such as Adagio Verse Quarterly, Eclips e-zine and Meeting of the Minds Journal. She has also published articles with Poetry Renewal Magazine. She is the founder and editor of the online literary journal, LE Quarterly: http://www.literaryescape.com/journal/

In The News:


Southwest Florida poetry contest winners announced
The News-Press
Last year when the number of entries in Southwest Florida Poetry Contest quadrupled, we called it a poetry boom. This year the number of poems submitted doubled to more than 150. Poetry has poetically exploded in Southwest Florida! Local poets and ...


Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel

Maine Poetry Express Waterville planned April 2 at Hathaway Creative Center
Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel
WATERVILLE — To kick off National Poetry Month, Waterville will host a celebration of poetry with Maine Poet Laureate Wesley McNair and Mid-Maine community poets. The third annual Maine Poetry Express Waterville is set for 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, April ...

and more »

Press Herald

Swedish Nobel laureate Tomas Tranströmer dies aged 83
The Guardian
The Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, who won the Nobel prize for literature in 2011, died in Stockholm on Thursday at the age of 83. He had lost the power of speech after a stroke in 1990, but continued to write poetry, and to play the piano with his ...
Noteworthy Deaths Swede's poetry won him Nobel in 2011Arkansas Online
Tomas Transtromer, Swedish poet, dies at 83Press Herald
Swedish poet, Nobel Literature Prize winner Tomas Transtromer dies at age 83Minneapolis Star Tribune
U.S. News & World Report -Los Angeles Times
all 137 news articles »

PRI

1200 years later, is Chinese poetry entering a new golden age?
PRI
According to Yibing, the poets were skeptical. They weren't “app” kind of guys. Was this really a good venue for poetry, they wondered? But, within minutes of the poets uploading their poems, he says, “there were hundreds of people 'liking' them and ...
Library plans April poetry series to celebrate National Poetry MonthKitsap Sun
Poetry Then, Poetry Now: A Poet Laureate and His LegacyUCR Today (press release)
Bringing poetry to the peopleMyanmar Times
The Daily News of Newburyport -New Jersey Hills -Sippican Week
all 20 news articles »

Free State High students to compete in regional poetry competition
Lawrence Journal World
Free State High School's slam poetry team recently earned a spot in the finals of the KC “Louder than a Bomb” competition. Poets from FSHS will join students from Paseo Academy, Raytown High and Shawnee Mission South at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Gem ...


Huffington Post

Why You Should Read More Poetry
Huffington Post
We discover poetry again and again in our lives because while the lessons life teaches us along the way about heartache, depression, love and joy, may seem familiar because we've come across them before in other narratives, movies and books, it's not ...


South China Morning Post (subscription)

Hong Kong-based poet Bei Dao wins prestigious poetry prize
South China Morning Post (subscription)
A top mainland Chinese poet based in Hong Kong has been awarded a prestigious international award for poetry, putting him on track for a future Nobel Prize for literature. Beijing-born Bei Dao, a Chinese University professor since 2007, is only the ...


Los Angeles Times

Finally at rest: Britain's King Richard III buried with pomp, poetry
Los Angeles Times
He will always be known as the king whose bones were discovered beneath a parking lot. But on Thursday, Richard III was given a send-off befitting his regal title. In a ceremony oozing with British pomp and circumstance, and attended by royals ...
Watch Benedict Cumberbatch read poetry at the reburial of King Richard IIIEntertainment Weekly

all 783 news articles »

WBUR

'Sidewalk Poetry' Project To Take Literature To Cambridge Streets
WBUR
They call it “Sidewalk Poetry.” And this spring, when the city of Cambridge begins its annual warm weather sidewalk construction and replacement, they aim to immortalize poems by pressing them into the wet cement. If you live in Cambridge, you could be ...

and more »

WBUR

Using Poetry To Expose The Power Of Money, Class And Gender
WBUR
Alissa Quart is a journalist, a keen observer of our culture and a believer in the power of poetry to cut to the heart of issues around us: money, class, gender and the environment. She has just released her first book of poetry that is both personal ...

and more »
Google News

Ode, to the Mighty Midget Omac [In English and Spanish]

Part One Midget HistoryI am thirty-six inches tall, that is... Read More

Savage Nature: The Life of Ted Hughes

One of the most important poets of the post-war period,... Read More

My Grannio

I never thought I would have to say GOODBYE to... Read More

Eds Poem

Ed Gallagher Dec. 11, 1907 - Sept. 5, 2004This poem... Read More

Preserving Dignity

No one should have to beg or crawl before humanity.... Read More

Cruel World

Azra, Azra, Wake up Azra. Wake up Azra, It is... Read More

Africa - Wheres The Profit?

A poetic comment that just welled up inside my head... Read More

Anne Bradstreet, To My Dear and Loving Husband, A Discussion

"To My Dear and Loving Husband" was written by America's... Read More

Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Dog

Emlyn Williams Theatre, Mold, North Wales: 20th February 2003Clwyd Theatr... Read More

Africa

AFRICA (to africans in diaspora)africa here i come, africa africa... Read More

Five Mixed Poems, with Notes [now is Spanish and English]

1.Night in Jamaica [Peruvianism: 1810]It was a rainy night... Read More

Rules for Writing Poetry

You've been writing poetry since that first assignment in your... Read More

For My Mother

I cannot bear to think of when you will be... Read More

Colorful Talk

"I heard what you said, Red. Yet, I have to... Read More

Because of You

You are to me my lifeline my security. That scares... Read More

Hindu Poet - Kamalakanta

Kamalakanta was born in Burdwan India in the late 18th... Read More

A Ship to Remember

Hammers. Timbers. Iron. Steel.They're laying down a mighty keel.As ant-like... Read More

The Game of Life

When your life becomes unbearable And the light of... Read More

Ive Learned

You cannot make someone love you. All you can do... Read More

It Was Not Me

It was not me as I am now. It was... Read More

Poetry in a Nutshell

Poetry is more than just rhyming and prose that is... Read More

Its What She Didnt Say

When I hear your voice inside my head it makes... Read More

Ambiguity and Abstraction in Bob Dylan?s Lyrics

To many people contemporary poetry is a turn-off. The reason... Read More

I Shall Wait...

I Shall Wait..On all the new mornings, and every singking... Read More

Shaking out the Rugs [Following the Poet]

Let's follow the poet to his Hell and heaven! Count... Read More