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Revise your poem with this writing checklist

So many facets of writing craft go into making a poem or story flow and resonate with readers. The complexity of fitting all the pieces together into a meaningful whole is exactly what I love about the challenge of writing and revising.

I’m creating a list (a work in progress) to remind me of what I want to think about when I write and revise my poetry. Maybe these points will help you in your writing or if you’re called on to critique a friend’s poetry.

  1. Does the title help advance the poem’s story?
  2. Is the first line compelling?
  3. Does the first line reveal what I want the reader to know? Does it ground them in the meaning of the poem, hint at what’s to come?
  4. If needed, does the poem include places for emphasis or rest?
  5. Do the lines of the poem begin and end with powerful or significant words?
  6. Does the poem contain sensory images? Will the reader be able to taste, touch, hear, and visualize the poem.
  7. Does the poem tell too much instead of showing?
  8. Does the poem contain cliched words or phrases?

What elements of craft do you apply as you write and revise? Please comment below with your ideas for the list. I’ll continue to build it out and share more tips in upcoming posts.

For more tips and ideas about writing poetry, check out these posts:

Master class tips for reading and writing poetry

Master class tips for reading and writing poetry, part II

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