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Make every word count.

Part of the art of poetry is the ability to collapse meaning into as few words as possible. As mentioned before, poetry is about painting the picture in significantly less than a thousand words. So, make every word count. Avoid qualifiers that water down your meaning. Use stronger words and specific names and places. Use active verbs. Which is better in a poem: “Baby done left,” or “She went on to pursue new opportunities in the quest for mutually affectionate response?” You are writing a poem. You want impact! You want power! This is not a corporate memo.

Of course, there are always exceptions, and they usually deal with humor. How would a corporate personnel director announce his impending divorce? What if he is addressing this issue with his young children and trying to explain why Mommy has left?

 
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