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May 18, 2007

Top Ten Ways to Improve Your Poetry

Bridget M. and Dorry S., two of our high school interns, wrote this week's "Extra Ink."

   Want a better chance of having your poetry published? As interns in the Teen Ink office, we have read thousands of your poems. Here are some thoughts about what has worked or not worked in the poems we receive. Good luck!

1. Be original. Write about your hobbies and unique experiences. Just so you know, we receive a lot of poems about love and relationships. 2. Be careful not to force your rhyme. Poetry sounds more mature when it comes out naturally. Keep in mind that poetry does not need to rhyme.3. Avoid acrostic poems. It just seems too gimmicky.4. Use clear imagery. Imagine what you're describing and show the reader, do not tell her.5. Beware of cliches. If you've seen it on TV more than once, it's a cliche. No single tear or shattered hearts, please.6. Tighten it up. Long poems are harder to publish and poems are often more effective when they're concise.7. Proofread, edit, and get a second opinion before sending it off. Make sure you are sending your best work.8. Remember the title. Titles often are a great indicator of the tone of the poem.9. Use active verbs. Verbs are the engine of a poem.10. Do not be redundant. Redundancy is bad. "Happy, joyous" does not work ... they mean the same thing.

For more techniques and suggestions, visit http://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/creative/Poetry/tips.htm.

Bridget M. is a high school senior attending New York University this fall. Dorry S. has just finished her sophomore year at American University. We here at Teen Ink are so grateful to have these two outstanding young women as our interns.



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