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Name your characters.

Often poetry is written in the first or second person. For variety, or to help get around a stumbling block, consider going to third person and naming your character(s). It often ties the reader closer and gives them an impression of the character. It can also help them identify more closely with the opposite sex. For instance, a poem that is written by a female in the first person from a female’s point of view may be hard for a man to relate to; however, in the third person it becomes easier. Every man can relate the poem to some woman he’s known, even if he can’t easily relate it to himself.

This is also true of places and things. Use real place and product names to connect better with the audience. Saying, “At the big smelly lake” might not connect as well as the phrase “When Lake Erie was polluted.” Think about it. “We stopped at the burger joint,” or “We stopped at MickeyD’s.” Which of these gives a better impression as to the surroundings for more people?

Of course, for every rule, there is an exception, and Lou and Peter Berryman are definite rule breakers. They have a song called, “Your State’s Name Here.” It is their generic song of longing for or bragging on your home state. They have spots throughout the song where the listener is directed what to put in the space with cues like “Your State’s Name Here” or “A Reasonable Date” or “The State Songbird’s Name Here.” As is usual with Lou and Peter’s songs, it is a very funny work of art.

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