Do's and don't of poetry

The do's and don't of poetry:

'There are steps that we can take to improve, the most important being that we should read our poetry aloud to hear it in a more objective fashion than silently inside our heads. Otherwise, our glaring errors are skated over by our self-conscious psyches. We should also read more of other people's poetry (aloud, of course) - and it should be good poetry, which doesn't necessarily mean fashionable poetry. Although not all published poetry is good poetry, the more we read the more we will get our eye (and ear) in. Trust me, if we read until we're saturated, our opinions will polish up almost unbidden. Whether a particular poem or poet is good or not is only ever someone's opinion and therefore always arbitrary. (I, for one, don't care much for William Blake's poetry. Sorry. But I very much like Dylan Thomas.)

There are some very basic do's and don'ts when writing poetry. Rhyme is nice, but it is entirely up to the poet - in which case lines must scan. Rhyme does, however, help to fix a poem in the memory. Rhythm, on the other hand, is vital and, in reading aloud, a skilled reader can give even free verse a rhythm and lyrical quality that reading silently often fails to do. Metre is important and uncomfortable bumps should not be ironed out by changing the natural order of words, but eliminated to make way for an arrangement that works.

Just a smattering of good advice about how to and how not to write poetry, from a The Times poetry columnist.

For more go to this link.


  1. Madcap Machinist says

    oh to do meter like James Fenton...

    Leon Wing says

    I tot u already do meters like Fenton.

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