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Consolidated List of Tips

Section: 1. Foundation
1. Read poetry and read about poetry.
2. Memorize poetry.
3. Learn to write both dynamic and static poetry.
4. Know the poetic structural options.
5. Get rhythm.
6. Learn about meter
7. Dig those rhythm and meter combinations.
8. Learn your poetic devices.
9. What's the best way to group lines in poetry?
10. Learn standardized forms of poetry.
11. Know the types of poetry.
12. Study the poetic forms of other nations.
13. Copy the old masters.
14. Poetry can mimic any of the other arts.
15. Learn to tell a story.
16. Learn the emotions and how to evoke them.
17. Study the fine art of persuasion.
18. Expand your vocabulary.
19. Know the rules, so you know how to break them.
20. Avoid dialects that you don't have or know intimately.
21. Take the time necessary.
22. If you don't understand a poem, put it aside.
23. More structured forms are better for songwriters to study.
24. Work to increase your writing stamina.
25. Seek out devices to interest your audiences.
26. Be aware of your personal philosophy.

Section: 2. Inspiration
27. Open a book.
28. Think about a painting, sculpture or other art.
29. Research people in history.
30. Open your mind to random thoughts.
31. Write something descriptive about where you are.
32. Read a newspaper or magazine and base your poem on an article.
33. Base it on a life event of yourself, or of someone else.
34. Base a poem on a dream you had.
35. Play a game.
36. Elevate and celebrate something mundane.
37. Take a walk in the woods. Go row a boat. Get inspired by nature.
38. Write about someone you respect who shaped your life.
39. Write about a childhood memory.
40. Write about change.
41. Write from a viewpoint people don't normally see about an occupation.
42. Compare and contrast.
43. Parody!
44. Commemorate a special event in a life or history.
45. Investigate urban legends.
46. Base a poem on wordplay such as puns or double entendre.
47. Make up a character that is an author and let him or her do the writing.
48. Write as a companion piece to accompany a play or novel or other artwork.
49. Tell the same story from a different perspective.
50. Fall in love.
51. Ask someone else what to write about.
52. Exorcise your demons!
53. Turn it upside down.
54. Take a ride.
55. Fill in the alphabet.
56. Write a book requiring poems to illustrate points.
57. Write a vocabulary stretch poem.
58. Cheer up a friend!
59. Make fun of yourself.
60. Talk with a friend and listen.
61. Write your dreams as having come true.
62. Get religion!
63. Write about an ancestor or relative.
64. Challenge yourself to write in a style new to you.
65. Incorporate a phrase you hear and like.
66. Honor a veteran.
67. Craft a magical spell.
68. Sneak up on your subject.
69. Get things “not quite right.”
70. Think like an alien.
71. Create a frisson.
72. Pay attention to life.
73. Fixate on the details.
74. Look at other writings with poem or song-length ideas.
75. Eavesdrop.
76. Try a catalog poem.
77. Write about recent inventions.
78. Go back to your unfinished poems and songs.
79. Write about a previous incarnation.
80. What’s the word of the day?
81. Envision the future.
82. Start a company offering custom poetry.
83. Use pre-existing rhyme words.
84. Write about a friend or pet.
85. Write something for a child.
86. Context is everything, but lack of context is more fun.
87. Get a metaphorical dictionary.
88. Look at the eyes alone.

Section: 3. Preparation
89. There are three types of research.
90. Know your background.
91. Make your characters real.
92. Will ritual help?
93. Make your choices.
94. Know your audience.
95. Warm up.

Section: 4. Creation
96. Make your poems work.
97. Rhymes do not have to be perfect.
98. “Scansion doesn’t have to be perfect, either.”
99. Fit the rhythm and rhyme to the mood.
100. Pay attention to flow control.
101. Stimulate the readers’ senses.
102. Be consistent. Keep your details straight.
103. Present, develop, summarize.
104. Restrain yourself.
105. Be concrete, not abstract or obscure.
106. Be fresh. Avoid Clichés
107. Consider poem clusters.
108. Name your characters.
109. Establish and separate points of view.
110. Use classical or current allusions.
111. Charcoal, Pastels, and Oils
112. For songs, use repetition and nonsense syllables as thinking space.
113. One short phrase repeated over and over seldom makes an exciting chorus.
114. “A poem is like a baby.”
115. Just write it down.
116. Your opinion counts.
117. Conflict is the meat of a story.
118. Relax, and don’t be too artsy!
119. “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
120. “A song doesn’t have to rhyme, but it does need rhythm.”
121. Use a dummy melody.
122. Try writing in a non-specific gender.
123. Play with tenses, voices, and points of view.
124. Make every word count.
125. Have an alphabet visible.
126. “Every verse should have its own raison d’être.”
127. “If you use an awkward rhyme, put the forced rhyme first.”
128. If you’re stuck for a rhyme, try place names and proper nouns.
129. Add to the beginning.
130. Work after you want to quit.
131. Be implicit.
132. Go metaphysical. Go philosophical. Transcend!
133. Reverse consonants from line to line to bind the poem together.
134. Listen to the sounds of words.
135. Break it up! Space is the Poet’s Best Friend.
136. Mind your thees and thous.
137. “Write in the first person, but not about yourself.”
138. Build a wide bridge to your audience.
139. If you sound like Seuss, give your lines more juice!
140. If you sound like Seuss, make your rhymes loose.
141. If you sound like Seuss, give your rhyme a goose.
142. If you sound like Seuss, make your meter more obtuse.
143. Avoid non-standard contractions.
144. Keep a unified voice, unless you have a good reason.

Section: 5. Nomination
145. Name your works.
146. Keep titles short and meaningful.

Section: 6. Maturation
147. Strengthen your stress through mixing metrical methods.

Section: 7. Conversation
148. Vary vocabularies, speech patterns and rhythms.
149. Know your characters.
150. Collaborate on dialogues.
151. Say it out loud!

Section: 8. Collaboration
152. Be diplomatic.
153. Be open.
154. Make sure the ball is covered before you play tennis.
155. Know your collaborator.
156. Agree on some ground rules.
157. It has to work fairly for all.
158. Play the field a little.
159. Start your collaboration small.

Section: 9. Frustration
160. Read past works.
161. Read other people’s work.
162. Put it aside for a time; write something else.
163. Write in another format.
164. Write in another format. (Episode II)
165. Don’t force it!
166. Write something silly.
167. Write about not being able to write.
168. Free associate.
169. Get away for a while. Clear your mind.
170. Show it to someone else for comments or suggestions.
171. Write a blues song to clear away your troubles.
172. Breathe!

Section: 10. Evaluation
173. Read it out loud.
174. Get an editor.
175. Avoided Yoda-speak is to be.
176. Imagine a creep reciting your poem.
177. All poetry is bad.
178. Try to understand what is behind criticism.
179. Learn to criticize your own work, before anyone else can.
180. Don’t let your ego get in the way of communication.
181. Find another poet to work with for mutual critiques.
182. Never critique another’s work without explicit permission.
183. If you do critique...
184. Have a safety valve for criticism.
185. As a critic, make your thinking explicit.
186. Be kind to your critics with information.

Section: 11. Levitation
187. Study the characters around you.
188. Use funny words.
189. Use juxtaposition.
190. Hide a surprise at the end.
191. Take a different perspective.
192. Consider how your rhyme scheme and form affects levity.
193. Too serious is funny.
194. Base a poem or song on a joke or cliché.
195. Repetition can lighten a poem or song.

Section: 12. Cremation
196. Don’t be afraid to throw it away.
197. Don’t be embarrassed by work the audience loves.

Section: 13. Publication
198. Find the publications that publish what you write.
199. Follow instructions to the letter.
200. Track submissions carefully.
201. Broaden your scope.
202. Don’t give up easily.
203. Consider self-publication.
204. Go electronic.
205. Sell your work at performances.
206. Broaden your scope II.

Section: 14. Recitation
207. Remember Speech 101?
208. Write to enhance interactivity.
209. Write in such a way that another could perform your work.
210. Write it out loud.
211. Learn to compose extemporaneously.
212. Start small.
213. Unless you have a reason, avoid singsong.
214. Rewrite your poem as paragraphs.
215. Watch and listen to others as they perform poetry.
216. Use voice dynamics to create an atmosphere.
217. Consider voice training.
218. Create a persona or image.
219. Pay attention to the audience.
220. Think of your performance as a conversation with the audience.
221. Perform as much as you can and analyze what works.
222. Find ways of using other people’s audiences.
223. It’s easier to make 100 people laugh than six.
224. Audiences are more real than other poets.
225. Use the Folk Process
226. For international performances, consider translation.
227. Memorize it!
228. Prepare the interstices, too.
229. Slow down.
230. Beware of TMI Syndrome.
231. Take an acting class.
232. Join an improv group.
233. Plan your sets.

Section: 15. Digitization
234. Creating a CD is a series of decisions.

Section: 16. Exhortation
235. Make some goals.
236. Keep a journal.
237. Feel your life; don’t just observe it.
238. Get Mentored!
239. Join an organization.
240. Go to workshops.
241. Experiment! Diversify!
242. Find your voice.
243. Buy the tools of the trade.
244. Organize your work for easy reference.
245. Write at the same time every day.
246. Have a back up version of your poetry.
247. Keep your day job.
248. Keep a voice recorder (or notepad) handy.
249. Be prepared to sweat.
250. Study meditation and use it.
251. Poetry is power.
252. Start every day with a limerick. You can’t go downhill from there.
253. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
254. Have fun!

Section: 17. Appendices
255. Appendix A: Poem and Submission Tracking
256. Appendix B: Types of Poetry Improvements and Application to General Writing
257. Appendix C: Communication Goals and Media in Poetry
258. Appendix D: The Muses and Poetry
259. Appendix E: Contacting the Author
260. Appendix F: References
261. Appendix G: Why a Poem Gets Set to Music


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