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Appendix B: Types of Poetry Improvements and Application to General Writing

Suggestions for improving poetry fall into three major categories:

  1. suggestions useful for writing in general,
  2. suggestions that apply only to poetry, and
  3. suggestions to meet communication goals better.
Of the more than two hundred ideas in this book, all but eleven apply to writing in general. Of the forty inspirational devices in this book, every one of them could be used to inspire an essay or short story as well as a poem. With a few small alterations, most of the suggestions that mention poetry or poems could also apply to writing in general. For instance, in the foundation section, it could as easily be said that writing can mimic any of the other arts rather than just poetry doing so. It isn’t necessarily easy to make prose mimic architecture, but it can be done. Even the suggestion of knowing poetic devices can improve prose. Has prose ever been harmed by a little lyricism? These general suggestions are included here because being a better writer will make you a better poet.

The eleven suggestions that apply most directly to poetry and poetry alone are those dealing with such topics as rhythm, rhyme, meter, standardized forms, choruses, and improving recitation of poetry. These are the small things that distinguish poetry from prose. These days the line between the two is ever finer with some very lyrical prose works and some very prosaic works listed as poetry. Today, a poet doesn’t have to rhyme or stick to a meter or rhythm, but knowing how to will even improve the poetry that doesn’t use these conventions.

Finally, there are suggestions that apply specifically to achieving communication goals through your poetry. Specifically, these suggestions are numbers thirteen through fifteen. They deal with telling stories, evoking emotions, and persuading your audience to your point of view. Appendix C deals with communication goals in more depth.

 
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