Poetry is Precise

Posted by on Apr 26, 2015 in Feature | 0 comments

When writing poetry, many feel the need to be vague to appeal to the idea of poems having many different layers of meaning. Try to avoid that mentality. Be intricate, not vague. A poem can have a variety of meanings but not through destroying the clarity of the piece. By doing so you’re actually destroying the many meanings you’re trying to create.

It’s a common habit many starting poets have but it’s easily changed. All you have to do is be detailed. You don’t have to be very wordy to do this. Just avoid the use of  “something” or “thing” or even sometimes “place.” Be specific.

It shone brightly in the park.
This line on its own is a bit plain. How brightly did the object shine? What did the park look like? How important even is the park?

It shone as if a bird had dropped a silver necklace into the sun’s rays.
This line tells us that the object the poem speaks of probably has a small glare like the shiny objects that birds like to collect sometimes. It also gives us the image of the bright sun, which is relevant to describing the object, unlike the park. It just sounds better too.

These are very quick and simplified examples but they mean to show how important description is in poetry. It’s not intended to show that you have to make all your sentences longer than originally intended. Short sentences can have great impacts on a piece or work. You must remember to be specific with your descriptions though.

“A writer must grab the reader’s heart by appealing to their senses, using words and images that make readers feel.”

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