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11 Tips for Making a Poem

You don't want to follow rules when you write, but it's helpful to remember certain things before you pick up your pen:

1. Focus on one image or scene. If you try to tell too much of a story, your poem will be difficult to handle. Likewise, not starting with any image means that you'll probably make several false starts.

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2. The narrative (what's happening) should be clear to a reader by the time the poem is finished.

3. Try to use language that is colorful, surprising, and musical. For example, apple trees that are heavy with fruit can be described as ``apple trees weighed low.''

4. Make sure each line is interesting and pulls its weight. Try not to end a line with weak words such as the, and, of, a , or is.

5. Choose a title that adds something to the poem. It could provide important information that isn't given elsewhere, or it may hint at some important themes.

6. Create a mood for the reader.

7. Make sure that the poem is more than just a lot of descriptions. Images should work toward a climax or transformation.

8. Make every word count. Try to avoid repeating words or using more than you need to.

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9. Give readers the actual experience instead of summarizing it. Instead of saying that ice is cold, make us feel it on our fingers and tongues.

10. The point of view (who's speaking) and the logic in the poem should remain consistent. If your poem is surreal, don't try to make it sound realistic halfway through. Likewise, don't start out with an inanimate object in a serious poem and then suddenly make it start talking.

11. Don't be afraid to make changes.