Word economy continues to plague poetry writing. People have a hard time knowing when to shorten their sentences and when to lengthen them. It is also common to find people using filler language in poetry. Moreover, finding the most meaningful vocabulary to the poem becomes a problem.
When writing poetry, avoid ambiguity. If you have the tendency to repeat phrases, cliches, poor punctuations and long sentences, try as much to keep away from these. I realized I was a poor poet because I was suffering from all diseases when it came to grammar. The best tip to help me grow was simplicity. Though many assume that using big words and long sentences means you are a superior writer, it is not the case. Some of the best poets were able to use short sentences to drive big messages. Make word economy your ammo and become one of the great poets today.
Big bullets hit hard but small bullets hit fast.Some of the best poets were able to use short sentences to drive big messages.
When you are writing a poem, always remember to use your words wisely. Some words can carry the meaning of a whole line. Others can summarize a whole idea instantly. It is important to know what tactics favour which times when writing poems.
For instance,in a poem talking about people waiting for buses for hours could really emphasize on the wait. In this example, you might want to focus on the actions and emotions of those waiting. Look at these two different lines below:
-Seated for hours on end
-The seats looked at its hostages
When examining the two lines, the second is the most powerful. It is not just the use of personification but also the grasping of the attention of the readers. One would want to read more because of the word hostages. It is an added bonus that you can rhyme the word with luggages. Aside from that, the first line uses the common terminologies seated and hours. This do not break from the idea of boredom which could be both good and bad. Good because it reflects the theme of the poem; bad because it is so common it becomes boring.
Sometimes the intention of the poem requires less vocabularies and preciseness. For instance, if you want to talk about a marathon, you will likely use short simple words. Repetition plays an important role too as the words that bear most meaning are utilised. Examine these lines :
-Run as fast as you can to reach the finish line
-Run, run, as fast as you can
These two lines might not be the best when talking about a race. However, the second line is superior because it uses repetition and makes rhyme in a short line. The poet will achieve double victory by delivering the message quickly and using the best words for the theme.
A proper example of this common mistake (among others) is this poem I wrote some few moons ago. Notice how the lack of word economy brings ambiguity to the whole poem. The poem is also not structured and clear making it one of the worst poem ever written. 😭😭😭😭
They walk in acute angles,
As if to clutch on tommorow
Before tomorrow even knows.
They have hatched plans
On top of plans
And before you even know it
The plane is abroad.
They always go overboard
But you can never board their plans
Because the one thing they have
And you don’t
Is a tick from everyone in the board.
When the news gets out
Everyone will be bored
But some have already been bought
So they can jump boat.
A whirlwind will come
And push everyone
Into the mighty ocean.
Open your eyes and see
That we are no longer in the sea
So tuck in your habit
For this is a new habitat.
How do I know
Yet I don’t walk in acute angles?
The water is changing
And so is the current
The eggs of yesterday
Will rot in the future
It just depends with the one
The one who hatches
The one who he catches
The one it touches
We are all in this basket together
So we have to pray that we don’t
Lose it all on a slip
We are one crack away
Yet they walk in acute angles
Clutching on tommorow
Before tommorow even knows.
-By Veteran Henry Mworia