Thursday, April 01, 2010


April 1, 2010

Some of you know April is Poetry Month. And, you also know I've mentioned this fact on my blog for the past three years. I've pestered you to join me on this poetic journey, but feel your enthusiasm is lacking when it comes to writing poetry.

So, this year I decided to do things a little different. Every day this month I'm going to post something about the world of poetry. Some days will be helpful hints on how to write and submit a poem (from sources who know more about poetry than I do). Another day or two, I'll add a prompt you can use to jumpstart your verse. I might even share a poem I've written along the way.

What do you say--Let's get started.

Today's article comes from Writer's Relief. Enjoy!

Poetry Turnoffs: Styles And Formatting That Make Editors Cringe

Thursday, 18 March 2010 09:17 by Writer's Relief Staff - Part 1:

At Writer’s Relief we are very tuned in to trends in the publishing industry, and we’ve noticed that some poetry formatting choices act as red flags to editors of literary journals. These red flags tend to make editors view poets as new or amateur. If you’d like to get your poems published in literary magazines, consider these tips before making your submission.

Rhyming Poetry And Contemporary Publishing

As disappointing as the news may be for some poets, very few literary journals are accepting rhyming poems or formal verse poems. From the lack of popular interest in rhyming poetry, it seems that many modern readers have come to regard rhyme as naive, outdated, and contrived. Literary editors of well-known journals are simply not banging down poets’ doors to publish rhyming poetry.

That said, some editors love and publish rhyme. Poets who excel in traditional verse may well find an outlet in literary journals; however, the writing must be exceptional in order to overcome the apparent editorial disinterest in rhyme.

Poetry Format: Double-Spaced Lines

One of the tell tale signs that a writer is new to the craft is unnecessary double-spacing of free verse or rhyming poems. Many double-spaced poems can easily become single-spaced poems without doing significant damage. The new writer may feel uncomfortable changing from double spaces to single spaces, but if you leaf through the pages of a literary magazine, you’ll find that most poems are single-spaced.

That said, some poems simply must be double-spaced. The writer selects double-spacing not just because it “looks nice” but because that format supports the meaning of the poem in some way. You can double-space your poems; just be sure you’re doing it deliberately, with sensitivity and awareness. If you can remove the double spacing without doing damage to the poem, it might be a good idea to do so. The format change will also help you keep the page count down.


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Love ya,


PS: Hope everyone enjoyed today's teaching. Be sure to check back tomorrow for Part 2.


Linda Kozar said...

Janetta, I didn't know that they were double-spaced. See--I learned sumthin' new today!

dwanreed said...

Interesting. I like to rhyme, but I think I'm stuck in the nursery rhyme era.