5 Essential Poetry Tips

by , Friday August 3, 2012
5 Essential Poetry Tips


Poetry can be a little intimidating to newcomers, so we have collected some essential bits of advice for you. 


As a teenager, the closest I got to sharing the badly written poetry I hid in desktop folders on the family computer was to send it over MSN messenger to a girl I liked. It was called 'Beautiful' and I hoped she would respond well to flirting via verse. Her reply, that "I don't get what's happening at the beginning", effectively put an end to my career as a poet and I started writing prose. It's so much more, well, so much more un-der-stand-a-ble.


Had Movellas been around 5 years ago, I would probably be succesfully crafting my next anthology of poems in a small Parisian attic. Alas! But there is still time for you, you can still live the poetic dream. And to help you, I have collected 5 pieces of essential advice from 5 of the greatest poets the page has ever seen. 


1. Do not ever read books about versification: no poet ever learnt it that way. If you are going to be a poet, it will come to you naturally and you will pick up all you need from reading poetry. 

— A.E. Housman

2. Use no word that under stress of emotion you could not actually say. 

— Ezra Pound

3. Don't write love poems when you're in love. Write them when you're not in love. 

— Richard Hugo 

4. The poet's first rule must be never to bore his readers; and his best way of keeping this rule is never to bore himself—which, of course, means to write only when he has something urgent to say. 
— Robert Graves

5. There is this tendency to think that if you could only find the magic way, then you could become a poet. “Tell me how to become a poet. Tell me what to do.” . . . What makes you a poet is a gift for language, an ability to see into the heart of things, and an ability to deal with important unconscious material. When all these things come together, you're a poet. But there isn't one little gimmick that makes you a poet. There isn't any formula for it. 

— Erica Jong

Loading ...