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7 Steps to Becoming an Awesome Poet

7 Steps to Becoming an Awesome Poet

Serious poets want to improve their level of writing, but how do you go about that? These steps will help: Read a lot of poetry. Focus on the works of classical and contemporary poets, especially Pulitzer or Nobel prize-winning collections. Study poetry forms and techniques. Poetry dictionaries, how-to articles, and my e-book on poetry writing will help you to expand your “tool box.” The more you know about poetry, the more you have to draw on as you write and revise your poems. Revise. Let your own poems sit until you’ve forgotten what they say. Then read aloud and correct anything that seems off. Cut unnecessary words to compress the language and tighten the beat. If something has been said in the same way, change it up. Give it time. Make it new. Use your good senses. Rather than relying on imagination to freshen up a poem, use your senses to note what you see, sense, smell, taste, feel, touch, and remember. Be specific. Notice details. Compare this to that in an unusual way. Identify your strong suit. Then do something different! If imagery fills your poems, fine tune your poetic ear toward musicality. (You’ll hear this best by reading each poem and revision aloud.) If you’re inclined to write rhythmic poems with end-line rhymes, break into free verse - and vice versa. If your poems take up a full page, practice writing haiku. Long poems often have more than one focal point, which means you might have two or more poems in one. Study poetry journals and anthologies to increase your publishing options. Look on the Internet for samples of poetry journals to discover ones you relate to and enjoy. If you like their work, they’ll be more apt to like yours. Study individual websites to become familiar with the favorite themes, style, tone, length, poetic forms, and other preferences of the publications you favor. Get professional feedback from a poet and/or poetry instructor. That would be me! Start by selecting up to 5 pages of poems that best show your writing style and interests. Then send $25 by Paypal and email a Word or .doc file attachment of your poems to marysayler(at)bellsouth(dot)net. After we’ve discussed your poems and I’ve sent feedback, keep my suggestions in mind as you re-read and revise, not only this batch of poems, but also others you have written. For a poetry book or chapbook you intend to self-publish, visit the Contacts & Critiques page of my website for fees and mailing information.

Meet Mary Harwell Sayler

Mary Harwell Sayler

An active poet, writer, and ecumenical Christian, Mary Harwell Sayler is also a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church in all of its parts.

Mary has placed over 2,500 poems, articles, devotionals, children's stories as well as 35 traditionally and indie published books in all genres.

For more information, visit her website In 2012 Hiraeth Press published her first full-length book of poetry, Living in the Nature Poem, which reconnects us with God, nature, and ourselves.

In 2014 Kelsay Books released Outside Eden, a book of Bible-based poems, and then a book of nature poems for children, Beach Songs & Wood Chimes.

In 2017, Cladach Publishing released PRAISE! - Mary's book of contemporary psalms, laments, and prayer-poems. That same year her nonfiction book, What the Bible Says About Love and her poetry book, Lost in Faith, came out on Amazon. In addition, Mary has self-published Kindle e-books for poets and writers: the Poetry Dictionary For Children and For Fun; the Christian Poet's Guide to Writing Poetry, and the Christian Writers' Guide.

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