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How do you write a good poem?

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Quick Answer

Some tips to help write better poetry include understanding the poem's goal, avoiding clichés, and avoiding sentimentality. Although there is no definitive strategy or secret to writing good poetry, these tips can help writers expand and improve their work.

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Full Answer

In order to write a good poem, it's important to consider what that poem's goal is. The writing style and the content of the poem itself may change to serve that goal. A poem may attempt to describe a personal experience, call attention to a social issue, describe an object or a place, raise some philosophical question, or fulfill some other goal entirely. Once the goal is understood, writers need to ensure that every aspect of the work contributes to that goal.

Writing good poetry also means avoiding clichés and other stale phrases. A cliché is any metaphor, simile or other phrase that is used so frequently that it loses meaning. Clichés such as "blind as a bat" or "tried and true" detract from the meaning of a poem, because readers pass over without really reading them.

It's also important for poets to avoid excessive sentimentality. Sentimental poetry appeals to readers' emotions in an artificial way, particularly using feelings of pity and love. Poetry that is overly dramatic or overly romantic can often alienate readers. The best poetry expresses genuine emotion that does not try to manipulate readers' feelings.

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