Author Connection Series 2

How can we keep poetry alive?

W.S. Merwin says,” Poetry reconnects us to the world.”

Poets are not published by the big publishing houses like they once were. It is harder than ever to break into the publishing arena.

We really are a small community and the more we support each other in our art the more we can promote poetry.

“Separate we come, and separate we go, and this be it known, is all that we know.”
~ Conrad Aiken.

I disagree because I believe together we can find a common ground. Reading one’s poetry helps writers fine tune their skills.  It also helps writers working in other genres develop their narrative and imagery.

It can be hard to step outside our little box of words but collaborating with other writers sparks new ideas. The rewards of working together go far beyond reaching new audiences because it challenges the author to approach their medium differently.

“Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.”
~ Charles Bukowski

However, the search for genius can involve a group effort.  Think of the Algonquin Table or Hemingway’s drinking with his buddies.  These discussions weren’t accidents but provided value to those who participated.  That’s why they kept happening.

Look at a poem for a minute and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is it free verse?
  2. Is it structured in a specific form?
  3. Is there a specific pattern?
  4. Rhyme or non-rhyming?
  5. Is there a music of repeating sounds?
  6. Do the stanza breaks feel natural? Can you sense the energy of the poem?
  7. Is there a natural cadence when you read?
  8. When do the subject matter and the narrative arc?
  9. What part of the poem appealed to you most?
  10. What discoveries did you make in the text?
  11. Did the author rely on strong nouns and verbs or did they use adjectives and adverbs to create imagery?
  12. Did the title and the verse connect for you?
  13. Consider the different pauses when you read it out loud? Is it the same if someone else reads the same work out loud? Is there a crescendos, accents, or flexibility in the pauses?
  14. Is there an emotional tone of the poem? A shiver affect?
  15. What kind of insights or information could be revealed if a different speaker? Would it serve the poem better?
  16. Are there cliques? Words that jump out at you from other poems?
  17. How does this poem contribute to the overall conversation in the poetry world?

As writers, we need to develop our art to reach its full potential in this ever-changing world.


“For when ideas flutter in haze, we collaborate without notice and collect them as butterflies only to set them free into the world.”
Shawn Lukas








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