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phil rimmer's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by phil rimmer

Comment 27 by Gareth Rosser

I think Corylus has directed you well. I have a few additional things that might help.

I would suggest reading your stuff out loud before finishing. Even record yourself doing it. Does its written form help you read the thing as you would like it to sound? Capitalisation, punctuation, line breaks, verse breaks all help modulate the flow, the breathing spaces, the hesitation, or a headlong rush that dramatises and adds the sense of a real person at the other end.  Pauses for "punchlines", however, can be melodramatic and fall flat, unless they are utterly unpredicatable or funny or shockingly wise. You may find that reading the thing aloud doesn't yield the sense you thought you had captured (best discovered after leaving the thing alone for a week). This is a good sign to keep working on it.

A plain vocabulary can give ready access to others and invite them in, but the downside is the sheer lumpen fixedness of some of these familiar terms. If a poem expresses a sentiment with which others can simply agree whole heartedly and has caused no inner reflection, no hint of doubt, no insight, then it has lost most of its raison d'etre. Choosing occasionally to use less likely words or choosing to use unexpected analogies for them can help tease out additional meanings and insights that make your word soup more nourishing.

Here's atheist Larkin doing just that on churches-

You come away with words and phrases that contain wealth- "Christmas-addict". These things are real thinking tools for others to use.

Good luck!

Mon, 17 May 2010 09:17:30 UTC | #470768