Stop writing bad poetry

Published on 15 February 2024 at 18:57

I really do not like most poetry. I like the idea of it - people bearing their thoughts and souls on paper. Practicing art. Engaging with themselves and community. But when I read it, I’m more often than not just annoyed that I forced myself through it.

I would argue that the majority of the problem is the delivery. It doesn’t matter so much what the topic is - if you made me stop mid-sentence just to go down and read another line, it better have been worth it. There should be a reason that I took the extra brain power to sound out your rhythm - otherwise, it’s just a paragraph with bad grammar and punctuation. At least with paragraphs, you can skim top to bottom and get the gist. Make me laugh. make me confused. Make me need to know what line #2 says if you’re going to pause line #1.

I’ve certainly written (and published) my share of bad poetry before, and will continue to for the foreseeable future. Reading work from 2 years ago is miserable. But reading stuff from one month ago is less miserable. Do what you want, how you want - but being able to pinpoint “here’s an area I can improve on” and having that self-awareness is incredible for the growth of your work.

This is my challenge to you: write more interesting poetry.

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