Skip to main content
Publish date:

How Poeming Is Like Dating

We've been discussing the composition of poetry on Twitter today. It sounds like many poets (including myself) tend to treat writing poetry like dating.

Start off for fun
At first, it's just an image. Or an idea. Or a line. Something small and (what initially) seems unique triggers the beginning of a poem. You start to write it down, thinking it looks and sounds great. The common question: Will it still look good the next morning?

Often, these quickies may be abandoned in the light of day. Sometimes, forgotten forever. However, sometimes, there is enough "potential" there that...

Things start to get serious
And by serious, I mean, that you start trying to change the poem, and maybe the poem even starts trying to change you a little. This is where some really good poetry can be made. Many good poets and good poems make each other great during the revision process.

Of course, spending too much time revising a bad poem is also where quite a bit of time can be wasted.

Let go of the bad ones
Many poets (myself included) have trouble letting go of the bad poems. These are the poems that may have had "potential" at some point but are now just bad for you. Everyone outside can see that's there's nothing there. And deep down inside, you know it too.

You just have to let go of these poems. Who knows? Maybe it will make something of itself and return to you as a poem that works. Besides, you can always keep the best lines, images around in a "bits & pieces" notebook.

When you have a keeper, share it with the world
Just as you would bring a keeper home to meet the parents and family, keeper poems need to be shared with the world. These poems have everything you love, and you're proud to be connected to it. So, share it by submitting to journals and publications or by self-publishing.

Of course, one obvious difference between poeming and dating comes at this point, because you have to let the keepers go as well. That's the only way to move on to the next great poem.

*****

Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer

*****

Learn more about poetry:

From Script

TV Reboots, Utilizing Music to Create a Mood, and How to Grab Your Readers in Your First 10 Pages (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, interviews with "Yellowjackets" creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson, showrunner Tracey Wigfield and EP Franco Bario of the "Saved by the Bell" reboot, highlights from WGFestival 2021, and so much more!

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 27

For the 2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Today's prompt is to write a remix poem.

15 Promotional Ideas for Nonfiction Authors

15 Promotional Ideas for Nonfiction Authors

For the introverted writer, the process of promoting your book may seem to be a daunting, even frightening undertaking. Here, nonfiction author Rick Lauber lays out 15 promotional ideas for authors to get their books into as many hands as possible.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 26

For the 2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Today's prompt is to write a Well Blank poem.

Black Friday Savings 2021

Take Advantage of Our Black Friday Deals This Weekend

At Writer's Digest, there's no need to get up early or push and shove at stores to get your Black Friday deals. In fact, we give you the whole weekend to take advantage of them. Check them out here.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unexpected Break

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unexpected Break

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, your character receives an unexpected break or benefit.

The Joys and Challenges of Writing About Food

The Joys and Challenges of Writing About Food

Food takes on a main role in Annabel Abbs' novel, Miss Eliza's English Kitchen, where research incorporated all the senses. Here, she discusses the joys and challenges of writing about food.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 25

For the 2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Today's prompt is to write a thankful poem.

How To Turn an Idea Into a Chapter Book Series

How To Turn an Idea Into a Chapter Book Series

From finding the idea to writing the manuscript and sending it off to agents, author Christine Evans maps out how to turn an idea into a chapter book series.